Everyone has experienced how difficult it is to find your way around an unfamiliar hospital. The facilities are often huge, spanning multiple buildings, each with several floors, and they may or may not have a consistent design. Wayfinding refers to the information systems that guide people through their environment , and it is attracting a lot of attention as a new source of engagement for all stakeholders.
Many facilities utilize kiosks of various sizes to provide guidance anywhere in the hospital, and anyone can use them – patients, visitors, and staff. That empowerment decreases the feeling of helplessness that many feel when inside healthcare facilities providing easy to understand walking directions and helping them feel less reliant on other people and staff.
Information desk and Concierge service locations are major sources of engagement between staff and patient. The desks are often very busy and crowded with anxious patients. With the addition of self-help kiosks that provide easy to follow wayfinding, the amount of traffic can be decreased to these desks. Additionally, if patients do still have a need for that personal touch and want to speak with a person, your staff can provide the same consistent, easy to follow directions by using the wayfinding system on their computer. Staff can then print or email the directions to the patient’s smartphone.
Personalized guidance systems based on Bluetooth and mobile devices also boost engagement for everyone who uses them. These involve turn-by-turn directions directly available on the mobile device, based on that device’s exact location. The enhanced navigation frees up staff time, permits tracking and monitoring, and gives patients a self-reliant way to get around. Visitors also benefit from the specific guidance in order to find their destination faster, with less stress.
Many patients and visitors want to know as much about their upcoming appointment as possible – including how to get there, where to park, and how to find their destination. A strong wayfinding system provides the ability to get this information in advance, so patients and their families can see exactly how to get around before they even arrive to the hospital.
Any interactive screen being used for wayfinding can be used for more than just helping people get around. Screens can display digital signage, advertising and messaging. The right choice of digital signage will provide patients and visitors with valuable information about medical products and services. New technology makes getting around hospitals much easier than it used to be. As a result, staff members are not only happier and visitors more relaxed, but the patient experience is widely improved. Staff productivity/engagement increases and patients and visitors spend less time lost in hallways and more time with their loved ones – a win for everyone.