Hospitals are places of healing and refuge. In today’s world, as the pace of modern medicine continuously accelerates, a hospital must consider other factors in addition to expert staffing and state-of-the-art tools. Hospitals and healthcare settings should pay particular attention to the complex environment surrounding their patients within their care.
Indeed, a growing body of research finds that a patient’s physical environment is instrumental in the overall healing process. A hospital’s environment affects patient stress, patient and staff safety, staff effectiveness, and quality of care.
The complex hospital problem
Patients and their visitors are at an incredibly vulnerable state while in a healthcare setting. The emotional and physical highs and lows of what takes place within a hospital’s walls cannot be over emphasized. Add in a disorienting environment, unfamiliar and intrusive sounds, and a myriad of confusing hallways and those heightened emotions of both patients and guests can boil over into physical distress.
While hospital administrators cannot control how, when, or why patients and visitors enter the grounds or the results of what happens once they do, they can control the environment that they are entering. In recent years, health care facilities have invested in pleasing lighting, ample informational booths, and indoor gardens to address the physical and psychological needs of visitors.
Indoor wayfinding designed for hospital needs
The next and no less critical step in fostering a supportive, low-stress environment is indoor wayfinding. A comprehensive indoor wayfinding system alleviates the stress of an unfamiliar and often chaotic environment by helping patients, visitors, and staff quickly and easily find where they are going.
Maps, directories, and signage along the way are a good start, but when dealing with complex buildings, these are largely ineffective and add to the cacophony of an already crowded and confusing space. Modern indoor wayfinding is a comprehensive technological system that covers the visitor experience from the parking lot to hospital room and every potential point of interest in between.
The benefits of indoor wayfinding for hospitals
1. User-friendly interface
The right digital indoor wayfinding system will deliver maps and directions in a familiar user interface so hospital patients, visitors, and staff can easily find their destinations directly from their phones, hallway kiosks, or digital tablets.
2. Searchable points of interest
Users can search within the map for particular points of interest by proximity or need, whether that be a patients’ room, restrooms, the cafeteria, hand sanitizing stations, or other POI while on the healthcare campus.
3. Map editor and instant updates
Users can customize their wayfinding experience by selecting features such as handicap accessibility to display the best possible route to the final destination. Maps are updated in real time to display any hallway closures or location changes.
4. Increased safety
Indoor wayfinding makes it easy for users to find the closest emergency exit in case of an emergency.
5. Increase in hospital resources
Visitors with access to indoor wayfinding tools such as live mapping and digital signage find their destinations faster and with less stress. These individuals make fewer demands on staff, which saves the hospital precious time and resources.
6. Better patient outcomes
Patients who consider their environment stressful are more likely to have elevated heartrates and overall unfavorable hospital experiences. But when they can navigate hallways with ease, are met by relaxed visitors, and cared for by staff who are free to focus all of their energies on healing and comforting, patient outcomes invariably improve.
Clearly, indoor wayfinding is an investment not only in the visitor experience, but in staff efficiency, quality of care, and patient outcomes. You can’t change the way your hospital or healthcare facility is currently designed, but you can change the way your visitors experience it. Bring an elevated level of serenity to your hospital hallways with indoor wayfinding.