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Why Hospital Wayfinding is Essential

September 30, 2021
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hospital wayfinding
hospital wayfinding

Hospital wayfinding is a serious customer and patient relations issue for hospitals and medical facilities. Why? Because patients and visitors, inside and outside the facility, are usually in a heightened state of anxiety and are thus worried about finding their way to their intended destination. 

For first-time visitors and patients, this heightened state of anxiety is multiplied. 

The frustration that comes from getting lost is ranked among the top complaints by visitors to healthcare facilities. Studies have shown that if visitors do not have direction- or reassurance of their direction- every 30 feet while traveling through a facility, they will likely stop and ask an employee for directions. Thus, effective wayfinding in healthcare is crucial to keeping a hospital staff focused, productive, and free from interruptions. 

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What is Hospital Wayfinding? 

So what is wayfinding in healthcare? Hospital wayfinding solutions are designed to guide individuals from one space to another as efficiently as possible. In the case of a hospital system, this means helping patients and visitors get from one area of a hospital building to another (e.g. the cafeteria to the gift shop) or from different buildings spread over a larger hospital campus. A wayfinding system is meant to familiarize users with their surroundings with the goal of making subsequent visits easier. 

Why Mapsted’s wayfinding is important for hospitals

Hospitals are notoriously busy places that see heavy foot traffic on a daily basis. Effective healthcare wayfinding systems are excellent tools to keep hospitals running smoothly by allowing patients and visitors to easily navigate their environment on their own during what is often a stressful time. 

Ultimately, wayfinding in hospitals can provide these benefits for hospitals: 

1. Save Time

Time is a limited resource for everyone, but it is an especially crucial aspect of hospital operations, especially when a few minutes can mean the difference between life or death. Hospital directional signage, that is properly located along with Mapsted’s hardware-free indoor wayfinding system ensures that users always know exactly where they need to go and how to get there, helping them to stay calm.  

2. Help Keep Patient Stress to a Minimum

Mapsteds innovative wayfinding solutions are intuitive enough for the vast majority of individuals to easily use. So easy to use that people tend to forget about traditional hospital wayfinding signage. 

In the case of hospital buildings or campuses, this makes it easier on patients and visitors as they are less likely to end up frustrated while trying to figure out where they need to be. A properly executed digital wayfinding hospital ensures that users always know exactly where they need to go and how to get there, helping them to stay calm. 

3. Decrease workload for staff

Hospital digital signage, along with wayfinding, allows visits to get where they need to be without requiring assistance. This frees up staff for more urgent tasks. As stated earlier, having proper hospital wayfinding also keeps patients calm, making it easier and less stressful for the hospital staff to do their job effectively

Mapsted’s Digital Information Kiosks

digital information kiosks

Digital information kiosks can benefit hospitals in two ways: they can provide digital maps to assist with wayfinding and also help provide more in-depth information about the hospital facility itself.  Our directory kiosks are another digital hospital wayfinding tool. These kiosks can help to locate specific rooms, services, departments, or individuals.

Physical and Digital Signage

Along with digital information kiosks, hospital digital signage also plays a crucial part in hospital wayfinding. Both can be used to display hospital information, as well as assist patients and visitors in distinguishing between the many different buildings, areas, and departments of a hospital campus. Another example of hospital wayfinding design is to employ digital signage via waiting room boards which inform patients when their turn to be called back is coming up. These are especially common in urgent care and emergency room environments. 

Mobile Wayfinding Technology 

Healthcare wayfinding signage and digital information kiosks aren’t the only methods of hospital wayfinding. 

Mobile apps, such as Mapsted’s indoor-outdoor hospital navigation app, have become popular enough that some larger hospital systems are adopting mobile technology to help user navigate their facilities. Mapsted’s hardware-free hospital navigation app is customized in order to provide detailed layouts of the hospital campus and even surrounding areas. The app even comes with real-time hospital navigation. This helps ensure visitors are able to locate any department or employee without having to endure the frustration and stress of becoming lost, all while simply using their cellphone. 

As digital hospital wayfinding continues to grow in popularity, more hospitals are adopting this technology. When utilized along with proper wayfinding design, hospitals will become much easier places to navigate, increasing patient and guest satisfaction via a more positive end-user experience.

5 Steps for Effective Wayfinding in Healthcare

To ensure successful wayfinding here are 5 steps to consider. 

1. Proper Calibration of Property 

If your hospital is not calibrated properly it will cause issues down the road for accurate wayfinding. 

2. Hardware Installation

If your IPS requires external hardware to obtain positioning it is critical that this hardware, whether its BLE Beacons or RFID is installed properly. Mapsted has a hardware-free IPS that cuts down on time and costs. 

3. Successful rollout 

To gain traction with wayfinding on your property it is important to have a strategy to inform people about using the technology. This could be through ads, word of mouth, or kiosks. 

4. Accessibility 

Make sure that the wayfinding solutions for hospitals include options that are accessible, such as clearly marked elevators and ramps.

5. Cross-Platform Capability 

Make wayfinding accessible to everyone from a computer, mobile phone, tablet, and kiosk. Provide options for your patients to interact with the property.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can wayfinding for healthcare facilities be a solution to reduce late appointments?

Ans. Wayfinding can greatly reduce the number of people who show up late to their appointments because they have a clear indication of where they are and how to get exactly where they need to go with turn-by-turn directions.

Q2. How does wayfinding improve the patient experience?

Ans. Visits to the hospital are usually accompanied by someone who is already feeling unwell and likely not at their best. By limiting the stress of a person trying to find their doctor’s office or appointment you can improve the quality of their visit.

Q3. Is a digital kiosk directory enough for wayfinding?

Ans. Although having a kiosk is a great step in the right direction, sometimes a static kiosk is only helpful to find initial bearings. If you really want to up the patient experience, offer wayfinding that the patient can use while walking the hospital.

Q4. Can patients find an exact room within a large hospital complex?

Ans. The power of wayfinding is that a patient can find their exact room, likely without the need of a staff member to assist them there.

Q5. What benefits can my hospital expect from hospital wayfinding?

Ans. Among increased positive patient experience, staff will also experience a decrease in stress and fatigue freeing up more of their time since the patient flow will be optimized.

For more information on how wayfinding can benefit your hospital check out Indoor Positioning and Navigation for Hospitals & Healthcare.

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