Historically speaking, hospitals do not tend to be the easiest places to find your way around. Especially if you arrive concerned or upset about a loved one, or pre-occupied with your own upcoming procedure, it can be all too easy to lose your bearings once you get inside. For this reason, more hospitals today are introducing digital wayfaring to help patients and loved ones with navigation – wayfinding or wayfaring. This addition eases stress at what is often a naturally stressful time and also contributes to an improved patient experience in hindsight.
Taking a Look at Pros and Cons
Overall, digital wayfaring itself is largely viewed as a pro by hospital staff, visiting loved ones and patients themselves. Overall, it is a budget- and time-friendly alternative to manual “old school” wayfaring that benefits everyone. If you are considering the implementation of digital wayfaring for your facility, here are some common pros and cons to contemplate:
Pro: Boosts Visitor Independence
For example, the presence of such wayfaring reduces the drain on staff time and attention when patients and loved ones are continually asking for directions and help. In the same way, loved ones feel less stressed by being able to navigate independently with ease and visiting staff are able to get to meetings on time without anxiety.
Pro: Unlimited Sets of Directions
With digital sign boards, wayfaring can also be updated as frequently as the need arises to offer directions to specific events, such as public informational meetings, support groups, seminars and courses. And because digital wayfaring can be set up to change screens to display multiple sets of directions in real time, there is no limit as to how many different events can be posted at once for a single day. Also, because most people today are already familiar with how digital wayfaring works, they will likely pick up on their own that they need to stay put and read the directions until the event they are looking for pops up on the display.
Con: Maintenance and Errors
However, ultimately a navigation system is only as good as the administrators that oversee its use. Plus, the truth is, digital wayfaring does present one more piece of equipment that will need to be maintained and monitored. If the wayfaring goes down for maintenance for any reason, alternate plans will need to be made to provide for visitor and staff wayfinding needs. If errors are made when inputting directions or room numbers, this can also decrease satisfaction with the patient experience and lead to frustration and irritation for patients, loved ones and staff alike.
Overall, there is no doubt that installation of digital wayfaring offers many perks and benefits. It frees up staff time and energy to work on more productive matters, helps visitors easily feel oriented and independent, takes the burden off of patients and families to provide accurate step-by-step directions to visiting loved ones, makes it easy to organize different sets of direction for multiple events days in advance and gives the whole facility a distinctly modern and upscale
appearance. The biggest hurdle for most tends to be the upfront costs of having a digital wayfaring system installed, plus any down time that may be associated with training staff in how to use and monitor the new system. But once this hurdle is overcome, digital wayfaring reliably shows itself to be of tremendous benefit and value to everyone on the hospital premises.