Get Patients Back for Elective Procedures with Interactive Healthcare Wayfinding
Even perfectly healthy individuals can find that navigating through confusing healthcare buildings and complexes can be a huge headache. With the global pandemic still going on, many have delayed elective healthcare procedures for fear of exposure to the coronavirus. That’s why many medical office buildings and medical campuses are turning to interactive and mobile wayfinding tools to make the experience easier and safer.
With on-the-spot hospital wayfinding and medical campus maps on directories, providers can enable patients to quickly navigate to their provider without needing to ask lobby staff for directions. This also reduces their exposure to crowded areas and high traffic reception desks. More than ever, the public is turning to technology for access to quick information at the point of need.
Something as simple as wayfinding can color an individual’s overall experience with a hospital or healthcare provider. Taking a wrong turn and getting lost in the endless matrix of hallways trying to get from point A to point B is not only frustrating, but it can create added stress and anxiety in what for many is already a stressful visit involving tests or procedures. Yet health systems that are laser-focused on providing the best patient care often overlook the need to make their facilities more user-friendly.
Industry studies support the fact that better wayfinding in hospitals and medical buildings helps to improve the overall experience. For example, one recent study by Gensler, a leading architecture and design firm, found that 95 percent of survey respondents identified wayfinding as being “extremely important” to the patient and visitor experience. In addition to improving the overall experience, wayfinding also can provide added benefits, such as reinforcing a brand, differentiating a provider from competitors, and improving operational efficiency. Some hospitals view wayfinding systems as another platform to communicate with patients and visitors, better connect with people, and build a loyal patient base.
Experience is paramount these days as healthcare systems are increasingly competing for patients who have more choices in where they go for care. Facilities need to focus on the overall “customer” experience a person has from the moment they enter a property to the moment they leave. However, wayfinding at many healthcare facilities often falls short. According to Gensler, two-thirds of the healthcare professionals surveyed said the wayfinding at their facilities was worse than the medical care provided, which was contributing to negative experiences. Poor wayfinding systems contribute to a ripple effect of negative impacts that range from poor reviews on social media to lost revenue from missed appointments and late arrivals.
According to a report by the Journal of Family Medicine and Disease Prevention, the cost of missed appointments alone costs the healthcare system more than $150 billion per year.
Tips for Effective Hospital Wayfinding
- Develop a multi-dimensional strategy that includes human, physical, and digital solutions.
- Factor in post-pandemic needs for safe social distancing and scan-to-mobile interactive maps for self-guided navigation that users can take with them.
- Design wayfinding to be user-friendly and empower the individual to find their own way.
- Make sure that wayfinding meets the needs of a diverse group of individuals, such as including directions in multiple languages.
- Ensure that wayfinding is universally understandable and culturally acceptable. For example, are the signage colors distinguishable for people who are color blind?
- Identify destination points clearly and avoid the use of complicated medical terms.
- Mark pathways clearly and reinforce interactive navigational cues with graphics and landmarks.
- Use interactive kiosks to supplement pathways and signage by providing directional printouts, or directions that can be sent direct to an individual’s smartphone.
Hospitals up their game
Healthcare facilities that recognize the benefits of good wayfinding systems are going above and beyond the basics of signage and stationary maps and leveraging technology to deliver more innovative and effective solutions.
Gensler’s points the need for an integrated approach to wayfinding that includes human, physical, and digital solutions. Digital solutions, such as interactive kiosks and digital monitor displays, allow people to highlight routes, and receive specific instructions to navigate to their destination. In today’s post-COVID environment, this also allows for safe distancing and better dispersal of people to avoid crowded spaces.
The Macomb Medical Center Campus faced this challenge head-on. Patients were constantly stopping in at the ground floor Eye Care center to get directions. To address the issue with patient wayfinding on the property, tenants were putting paper notices on the wall between the elevators. But this damaged the veneer when people pulled their flyers down. It looked terrible. The cost to repair the wall veneer was extremely expensive. The building put up poster board between the elevators to cover the damage. But it looked unprofessional and didn’t fit the character of the building or the quality that the building owners wanted.
“To address the strain placed on our eye doctor’s office and patients,” said property manager Jill Long, “we selected a large, eye-catching 75-inch TouchSource Wall Display that you can see from everywhere. You just can’t miss it. Content is organized by doctor, practice, and location. We also added a newsfeed at the bottom of the directory—which is key at this location where people wait for the elevators.”
Now, visitors easily spot the directory as they come into the building and quickly find what they need. Once they locate their destination, they get there smoothly. As a result, we’ve successfully decreased stop-ins for directions at the Eye Care practice. Everyone is pleased with the functionality, modern design, and day-to-day impact of our TouchSource directory.
TouchSource is continuing to develop innovative wayfinding solutions to better serve the unique needs of the healthcare industry with features such as Contactless Scan to Mobile Directions, Interactive Digital Directories, 2D & 3D Interactive Wayfinding Maps and Spatial Orientation Matching that work for ease of use on beautiful digital maps. These features can be on any TouchSource directory and can be added to TouchSource’s new contactless, temperature-screening wellness kiosks. TouchSource’s cloud-based software also allows property managers to easily update messaging to provide new information that ranges from real-time traffic updates to the latest COVID-19 safety protocols in place at a property. To learn more about simple, easy and interactive TouchSource Wayfinding, please visit https://touchsource.com/products/wayfinding/