The Benefits of Wayfinding on the Patient Care Experience

Posted on Apr 2, 2014

It seems obvious getting the patient and his/her family from point A to point B. Rather it is a complex strategy requiring expertise; an essential science at the core of patient care In short, it is also a very critical part of the rehabilitation or healing process.

What is wayfinding?  The University of Michigan offers the following definition:

“Wayfinding can be defined as spatial problem solving. It is knowing where you are in a building or an environment, knowing where your desired location is, and knowing how to get there from your present location.”

This perspective on wayfinding by Sign System Solutions quotes Kevin Lynch, Professor at MIT (1965) and author of the seminal book on urban planning Image of the City:

“the elements of the built environment that allow us to navigate successfully through complex spaces like cities and towns.”

Wayfinding is all around us, and each day sometimes our experiences are improved as a result of an effective wayfinding strategy and sometimes it is not. I wanted to share a recent experience after doctor’s visit to a local hospital. I was helping a relative who uses a wheelchair to get to her doctor’s appointment.

The Problem:

On this visit we discovered that the entrance to the hospital had been relocated while the hospital was in the process of changing their interior structure. Offices had been temporarily relocated as a consequence. The hospital had one 8 ½ by 11 piece of paper that directing after hours visitors to a barely visible side entrance. It took us 45 minutes just to gain entrance to the destination. The stress level of dealing with the patient could not be measured but as you can guess, it was substantial.

The Solution:

Administrators needed to develop effective strategies that guide visitors in advance of the actual construction start date outsourcing wayfinder experts in researching, creating, planning, and maintaining a coherent strategy before, during, and after the reconstruction.

The Challenge:

Hospital administrators are primarily engaged with the smooth running of their establishment while focusing on the welfare of their visitors. More frequently than not they do not have significant staffing available. However, they rarely have individuals already on-board with the proper wayfinding expertise and experience. Thus, outsourcing a well-respected and knowledgeable wayfinding company is not only desirable but also essential.

Does wayfinding work?  Yes it does. Sign System Solutions recently worked with the Hudson Valley Hospital Center to develop an integrated strategy that significantly increased their ability to deal with visitor traffic throughout the duration of the construction.

The community’s reliance on hospitals is obvious. The welfare of the patients, the effectiveness of its employees, and successful marketing of these hospitals is also obvious. Patient experience significantly improves utilizing wayfinding consultants creating patient experiences that help assure community hospitals grow and adapt to the community’s and the individual’s needs in the present and the future.

From Toshiba Introduces Comprehensive Suite of Healthcare Solutions, we learn how the company is using its expertise in technology and its healthcare experience to deliver solutions for innovative mobile solutions to help healthcare organizations achieve the best outcomes.

“The healthcare industry is in an important transition, becoming increasingly digital and depending on technology more than ever,” said Wesley Smith, director of Healthcare Information SystemsToshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. “Toshiba’s depth of understanding in the healthcare space and long history of developing high-performance, durable and secure devices has enabled us to develop a complete ecosystem of medical innovations that will enable healthcare organizations to deliver the next generation of outstanding patient care.”

Digital Signage for Better Communication and Enhancing the Overall Experience

Toshiba’s expertise with LED televisions and displays help provide a complete digital signage solution for healthcare practices – improving the overall satisfaction of patients, hospital guests and visitors. Digital media and displays enable access to patient treatment plans and other enterprise applications through Internet-connected TVs, streamlining patient check-in, simplifying wayfinding, and providing interactive training and healthcare education.

Digital Wayfinding

Sign System Solutions has benefited from the expertise from companies like Toshiba and our own experiences that these advanced solutions deliver information in a highly visual and engaging manner, enhancing user experiences.  In the end, that is most important in defining the overall experience and welfare for each and every guest.

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