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Enhancing Patient Experience through Good Healthcare Signage

We all know that healthcare facilities are faced with enormous challenges.  One prominent challenge related to our field of expertise is the proper implementation of a signage and wayfinding program. Healthcare facilities proved to be very challenging for signage programs due to facility expansion, departmental changes and interior renovations.

Signage and Wayfinding Challenges:

  • Lack of consistent terminology through the facility
  • Over signing or under signing a facility due to improper planning or quick fixes
  • Clear differentiation to help identify specific areas of the hospital
  • Brand damage through inconsistency in standards and application
  • Lack of understanding traffic patterns and key decision points

In an article featured by the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Good signage points the way to better healthcare, they focus on the benefits that a good signage program can have.  One key point made in the article is that, “Lean design represents a simplification of messaging. Having too much information at any given decision-making point is just as bewildering as a lack of signage.”

Furthermore, how is a program maintained?  One healthcare property analyzed their signage program and concluded the signage was antiquated.  Over 25 signs were near the elevator bank and other signs had been tacked up or hand-written – clearly a result of make shift solutions resulting in confusion and uncertainty on the accuracy of the information displayed.

Now with digital hospital signage becoming more prominent, facilities must consider how to implement a digital signage solution and ensure it is part of the overall communication program, not just a nice “high-tech” object that is really just contributing to visual clutter.

The underlining point is that signage and wayfinding within healthcare facilities should be considered as an extension of the brand.  Thoughtful implementation creates a sense of comfort for patients and staff and conveys a message of care, concern for safety and concern for accessibility.

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