Crafting Journey, Branding vs Signage

Hospital Signage Needs to Be Improved

Crafting Journey, Branding vs Signage
Crafting Journey, Branding vs Signage

Hospital navigation is the straightforward process of navigating a hospital. And if you are in a hospital, you probably don’t want to be there. Chances are, if you are not a hospital employee or contractor, you or a loved one may need medical treatment, which can be an unpredictable and frightening moment.

A dire need for improvement

Hospital signage can be a stressful obstacle. Patients and their families need quality information to find the locations of different in-patient areas, such as waiting rooms, operating rooms, pharmacies and more. Unfortunately, hospital signage is complicated by the fact that each medical facility’s floor plans are unique. And because medical practices change rapidly, signs may not represent available services or updated information about new equipment.

Poorly designed and out-of-date signs have been blamed for several misdirected patients who became lost on their way to surgery, or even sent to an incorrect floor in the wrong hospital.

Enter hospital navigation, the unsung hero that empowers patients and visitors to traverse complex healthcare campuses and buildings. Or, navigation is the unseen antagonist that destroys the patient and visitor experience, frustrates the staff, and costs healthcare providers millions of dollars. 

According to a survey by the AAHPM, funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 28 percent of patients said they became lost while in a hospital. Out of those patients that were lost, 26 percent said they could not find their way back to their room. This indicates that even on an automated system, over half of these people had to ask someone to help them find their location.

Many studies have shown that hospital visitors often leave hospitals feeling confused and frustrated about finding the correct location or about making smooth transitions from one area or floor to another.

The large amount of confusion, frustration, and stress created by an inefficient and ineffective signage system is the underlying reason for many patient complaints, including frustration with long wait times, long distances to travel in a hospital setting and the overall patient experience.

Studies into wayfinding conclude:

“Signage is one of the most important factors in facilitating navigation. Signage can be a determinant in whether visitors get lost or not.”

In addition, research shows that even experienced visitors are often disoriented when navigating hospitals and clinics. “Visitors have difficulty orienting themselves to new surroundings because they have no prior knowledge of the specific layout. A lack of information and instructions on how to find their way can be very confusing and even uncomfortable.”

I strongly believe, from a patient experience perspective, that hospitals should do what they can to improve the patient and visitor experience by providing quality information through signs in ways that are clear, intuitive, pertinent, and comfortable.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *