Effective hospital wayfinding starts with being able to anticipate patients’ needs. As healthcare facilities are inherently complex environments, patients, visitors and staff often get lost, exacerbating what is likely an already stressful situation. In fact, losing their way in a hospital continues to be the primary complaint of patients and visitors, and they could easily blame the hospital’s team for the confusion. In the long run, this hurts the hospital’s image and potentially overall satisfaction scores about the patients’ experience.
The solution is customized healthcare wayfinding signage. With dedicated hospital wayfinding screens or mobile devices, you can provide progressive directions, complete with contextual awareness to enable patients, visitors and hospital staff to navigate the hospital facility. In this article, you’ll learn how to make this happen.
Progressive Wayfinding System
When designing a hospital wayfinding system, you should have a first-time visitor in mind. Often, first-time hospital patients and visitors are in a heightened state of anxiety and are very concerned about reaching their intended destination quickly. Healthcare signage, therefore, should be capable of incremental information delivery, giving only instructions that a visitor needs at that particular time. Also known as progressive disclosure, this type of hospital wayfinding approach is an excellent way to prevent information overload that would only confuse someone in locating their intended destination. To ensure your wayfinding signage is most useful, place it in high foot-traffic areas as well as entrances, exits and large junction points.
Help Patients Plan from Home to Site
Assisting patients with navigating the facility doesn’t start when they enter the hospital doors—it begins at home. Four Winds Interactive (FWI) provides a fully integrated digital signage and mobile application package that allow patients to navigate from home to site, with ease.
Traditionally, hospitals issue an appointment reminder card which includes information such as location details and detailed navigation instructions. This type of approach not only falls short in providing patient assistance but can be prone to error if not updated as the hospital shifts departments and providers to new locations across the facility. Effective hospital wayfinding utilizes applications to allow patients to search hospital directions while at home, identify the right entrance and continue with the experience while on-site.
Enable Contextual Awareness
Traditional healthcare signage can quickly become outdated and often lacks a visual indication of where the visitor is standing in the hospital. In hospitals designed with similar looking halls and passageways, it is even more challenging for patients to locate their destination. Effective hospital wayfinding, therefore, should enable contextual awareness with clearly defined maps and points of origin. FWI’s wayfinding application makes this possible and can even provide a multi-level view of the hospital to assist with spatial awareness.
If you’re implementing hospital wayfinding for the first time, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It is important to consider your current wayfinding methodology and how you want patients, visitors and employees to navigate your space. Other key factors include your facility’s size, patient population, number of visitors, multilingual needs, after-hours navigation requirements and even anticipated growth over the next few years. Finally, consider how your hospital brand should be reflected in the signage.
When it comes to healthcare wayfinding, these are four things to keep in mind to empower your patients, visitors and staff to navigate your facility confidently. But those are really just the starting points. When it comes to optimizing your facility with digital signage, you need to talk to the experts, because an enterprise digital signage solution will not only provide a seamless wayfinding experience but can also increase staff efficiency and patient satisfaction.