How Digital Directories & Wayfinding Systems Can Lower Staff Costs & Improve Efficiency

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Digital directories and wayfinding systems are a valuable addition to medical facilities for a number of reasons. They make it easier for visitors to figure out where they’re going, and they improve feelings of self-sufficiency in patients and loved ones who may be feeling particularly out of control during their visit. They help your facility convey that it’s modern, up-to-date, and patient-focused. They can reinforce branding and improve accessibility.

But what about cost? From a business standpoint, one of the most compelling reasons to invest in digital signage is hiding on your balance sheet. With a digital directory or wayfinding system, you can decrease staff costs and improve efficiency in a number of ways.


According to the study “Wayfinding and Orientation by the Visually Impaired.” in the Journal of Environmental Systems, one major tertiary hospital estimated the cost of wayfinding problems at $220,000 annually. When visitors can’t quickly and efficiently figure out where they’re going, they may stop to ask for directions.

Even if confused visitors stop at the information desk and speak with the employees best trained to help them, they may still find the directions confusing and seek out additional help later in their journey. Following verbal directions in a complicated setting can be challenging on the best of days, but if you’re sick or worried, it becomes even more difficult. Verbal directions can also be ambiguous, with many steps left open to interpretation.

Those who don’t get all the answers they need at the information desk may end up pulling doctors, nurses, or other healthcare professionals away from the task of providing care. In a large facility, it can take a significant amount of time to describe the best route or walk someone to their destination. Worse, these medical professionals may not be familiar with the layout of the entire facility, so it’s possible the interruption could leave everyone more frustrated.


When digital wayfinding solutions are implemented, facilities realize a variety of gains. First and foremost, a digital directory can help reduce the number of employees being pulled away from the task of providing medical treatment or other vital tasks. While concerned staff members will likely want to help any distressed visitor they encounter, it’s more cost effective and efficient for everyone if they don’t have to.

In research conducted by the Journal of Environmental Studies, it was observed that patients exposed to quality signage made fewer demands on staff and were more knowledgeable about procedures.

Further, visitors who are able to efficiently locate their destination are less likely to lodge wayfinding complaints during or after their visit. The experience of visiting a medical facility can be incredibly stressful, and getting lost only increases those negative emotions. When you reduce visitor stress, they can focus on the reason for their visit instead of occupying additional staff time as an outlet for their frustrations.

In some cases, you may even find that extremely frustrated visitors seek out other facilities in the future. By improving wayfinding systems, you’re also likely to reduce the number of visitors who become frustrated enough to avoid your facility in the future.


Aside from staffing costs, digital signage creates opportunities to increase efficiency for everyone involved. When people get to their destinations efficiently, it results in fewer late arrivals or missed appointments. That means less rescheduling, and more patients served.

Digital signage can also improve efficiency issues related to language barriers.  A typical human information desk attendant may speak one to three languages, but a digital wayfinding system can accommodate a wide range of languages and accessibility needs.

Digital directories and wayfinding systems improve efficiency during informational updates, too. When you’re dealing with a patchwork system of maps and signs and color coded wings, it can take quite a bit of effort to update intra-facility directions or departmental changes. You have to carefully track down every old sign, create new ones, and put them in the most helpful and least ambiguous places possible.

With a digital directory, you can make temporary or permanent changes almost instantly. You can even announce upcoming changes to ensure visitors aren’t taken entirely by surprise when they happen.


When all the benefits of quality digital signage are added up, the potential for improved efficiency and cost savings over traditional methods is significant. Your patients, visitors, staff, and accountants will see and appreciate the difference.

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