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Healthcare Color Guideline: Patient Outcomes

By Amber Zaucha | Published Apr 01, 2019 | 7 MIN READ

There are tons of studies that compare colors and the influence of patient satisfaction and wellbeing either positively or negatively. Don’t worry, we broke it down for you. Here is the consensus across the board:

  • High-contrast colors help illuminate and define volumes, shapes, edge changes and planes. Healthcare environments this would be best for is in poorly lit conditions as they can help older patients focus better.
  • Excessive use of one color can lead to harmful tedium. Keep things interesting with a bundle of colors, textures and patterns.
  • Most agree that color could change a patient’s sense of time. Use blue for patients that may be staying for a while, as cool colors expedite time. Use red, yellows and oranges in environments with high service conversion rates to keep the line flowing.
  • Colors have the potential to offset noise. Use cool tones for relaxation and warm tones for stimulation.
  • Does your facility have small patient rooms? Use warm colors to gain ground. Looking for a more intimate environment? Cool colors reduce space.
  • Avoid red with patients with epilepsy and neurological diseases or for the bipolar and schizophrenic. Red is known to raise blood pressure.
  • Instead, use red and other warm colors in settings where creative activity is desired and socialization encouraged, good where muscular effort or action is required, such as physical therapy.
  • Blue and other cool tones are good for alleviating headaches, bleeding and breaking down inflammation.
  • Some researchers recommend avoiding colors associated with human waste namely yellow and brown. Yellow is known to make skin tone look sickly. On the contrary, others recommend using yellow as it’s known to create an aroma of optimism and stability.
  • The power of green. With its roots weighing heavy in nature, green gives the aroma life. Best used as an effort to put chronically ill patients to ease.
  • As pure as white it, its effects are not. White is known to make surroundings feel pure, clean and allows the ability to focus. Physiologically speaking, there is a risk with too much white. Things appear desolate, unfamiliar and bland.

As it shows, there is conflicting guidance for which color is best suited for different patient outcomes in healthcare environments. There is no one cure-all solution. It’s important to take in mind reactions vary by geography, culture, history and the psychologic makeup of people.


Download our white paper: The Science, and Art of Wellbeing for an analysis on both patient and caregiver outcomes and access Altus' complete workstation color portfolio!

Altus designs and develops custom technology workstations in the healthcare environment with a modern approach to colors. Manufactured with fine detail in the USA, Altus' carts are known to enhance patient and clinician satisfaction and productivity,
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