Hospitals seek cure for confusing building navigation

Healthcare facilities are borrowing way finding ideas from shopping malls and airports

By Healthcare Facilities Today
February 10, 2014

Regional Health

Hospitals are realizing they have a design problem as patients and visitors struggle to navigate the maze of the modern medical complex, according to an article on the Wall Street Journal website.

Confusing signage and seemingly endless hallways can add to patients' anxiety, the article said. Because of this, many hospitals are borrowing strategies from shopping malls and airports to make it easier for people to get around.

Strategies include changing the technical names for departments, such as Otolaryngology, to the simpler "Ear, Nose and Throat."

Interactive digital kiosks at entrances allow visitors to chart the course to their destination. And some hospitals are placing prominent landmarks along routes to assure people they are on the right track, the article said. 

"Wayfinding is a challenge we have not yet 100% solved and we continue to work on it," Kevin Mahoney, chief administrative officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, said in the article.

Mahoney said he is studying how wayfinding works elsewhere, such as in malls and large hotels. 

"People can always find the Gap but it's not that easy to find Radiology," he said.

Read the article.




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