Cost vs. Value: Directory Signage for Medical Office Buildings

Author Christina Powell

Are You Deciding Between Slat and Digital Signage?

Having the right directory solution for your MOB or medical campus makes a big difference in patient satisfaction. Building managers have two choices: Traditional directory signage or a digital directory solution.  

Old school directories may meet a facility’s basic needs. They will provide a simple list of departments, physicians and suite numbers. For building owners, the most compelling benefits about a traditional directory are the perceived minimal costs and time savings when purchasing a new directory sign. Digital directories go beyond to deliver more content, offer touch screen features and allow for quick and easy updating when listings change.  

They are perceived as more costly than traditional directory signs. At a glance, it would seem traditional directories would be the least expensive option. And with today’s climbing costs for, well, just about everything, it’s preferable to meet operational needs in the least expensive way possible. But understanding what’s really involved in maintaining a traditional directory for your MOB may make you think twice about your purchase.

comparison chart of directory signage for medical office buildings

Traditional Directories: A High Cost of Making Updates

If your building relies on traditional directory signage, your costs might add up quickly if you have more than a few tenant changes per year. Each time a tenant leaves and a new one joins your building; or an office moves to another suite; or, someone’s name changes, your directory needs to be updated. With a traditional directory, a new name plate printed or engraved with the tenant’s name needs to be purchased. In normal economic times, this extra cost and the time it takes to get supplies delivered is at least tedious. But in 2022, inflation has reached such high levels with no relief. Costs for materials are higher than ever, with inflation continuing to climb.  

Digital Directories: More Content, No Added Cost to Update Listings

Digital directory signage for healthcare checks all the boxes of a traditional directory, but goes beyond to deliver much more: 

  • Listings by individual, company or department 
  • Infotainment 
  • Weather, traffic, and transit information 
  • Building information and amenities 
  • Ability to search by physician or practice using touch screen capabilities 
  • Offer rotating custom messaging and announcements

Consider how your visitors engage with the signage and what your chosen signage solution should communicate about your property. Is your goal that visitors view your property as tech forward? If so, a digital directory will help align with that goal. Digital signage is also user-friendly for the property manager. Building listings can be updated in a few clicks, using a single cloud portal.

Doing the Math

A name plate replacement on an old school slat directory can cost upwards of $250 for each line and name. Let’s say you need to replace names at least a few times per year. Here’s what the cost might be to make those changes: 

  • 2x per year: $500; over 5 years: $2,500 
  • 5x per year: $1,250; over 5 years: $6,250 
  • 10x per year: $2,500; over 5 years: $12,500

Changes add up, as you can see. For the same cost – or even less – you can make an unlimited amount of changes to your listings in with a TouchSource digital directory. But there’s more: You’ll be able to publish notices in a slideshow viewer and change scrolling bar welcome messages when you want to make announcements. You’ll help your clients promote their businesses by publishing PDFs of their restaurant ads. Plus, your directory will become an important focal point for key news headlines, weather and stock tickers with engaging digital content. So much more than the cost of 2 slat directory replacements.  

So, when we hear that people are reluctant to pay the nominal cost of a subscription, the comparable price of physical reprinting is actually higher in the long run, offers less value, takes longer and sucks up time. Why do it the old school way? It’s a more expensive proposition to maintain that kind of directory over time.  

In the end, MOB customers purchasing a digital directory will get more bang for their buck. They also save customers time and effort, not having to physically remove and install new name plates. Contact us today for a quote on digital signage for your MOB.  

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