PatientWay Blog

Keeping up with constant change: electronic wayfinding in hospitals

Written by Jay Lawrence on December 10th, 2012. Posted in Hospital kiosk, Hospital Wayfinding

Wayfinding we have moved Keeping up with constant change: electronic wayfinding in hospitalsLet’s be honest: hospitals are not exactly known for remaining static.

Picture it: Dr. Jones’ office moved to a new floor. The blood lab is closed for renovations and now in the basement. And your hospital’s main elevators just broke down…again.

Every one of these situations demands signage—something that will notify visitors, patients and staff of the facility change; and direct them to the appropriate location.

Got signage?

Your hospital should already have some form of signage. But have you considered whether it’s keeping up with all your facility changes?

In other words, every time you relocate a department, close off a ward or build a new wing, does your signage reflect—and effectively communicate—that change?

The frustration of getting lost or misled is one of the ongoing top complaints by hospital visitors. And in a competitive industry like healthcare, one negative experience—like guiding visitors in the wrong direction, making them late for their appointment—can result in a person taking their business elsewhere.

That’s why, when it comes to maintaining user loyalty, your signage must have a high degree of flexibility.

And that’s where electronic wayfinding comes in.

Real-time updates

Many sign types, such as building directories and hallway directionals, require frequent updates.

Electronic wayfinding lets your hospital easily alert visitors, patients and staff as changes occur by displaying multiple floors (even in multiple buildings) on an interactive touchscreen.

It can even provide “detour” or alternate directions (e.g., using maps and instructions) to wherever people need to go.

Cost-effective for your hospital, time-efficient for everyone

It’s a lengthy process to get a simple sign manufactured.

There’s design, approvals, rewrites, translation and production, among other tasks. The list goes on and on.

With electronic wayfinding, you don’t have to create hard-copy signage or involve lots of people to communicate each and every facility change. That’s because the hospital—not external vendors—is 100% in control of the signage.

Consider the time you’d spend getting one sign made, compared to clicking a button to communicate the same message. Then consider the cost-savings of electronic wayfinding, simply by avoiding the price you pay for each sign.

Thinking about “changing” course?

Getting people to their destinations with ease—whether it be an appointment, or to visit a sick family member or friend—is important to your hospital as a business.

If your hospital’s current signage isn’t flexible enough to deal with ongoing facility changes, it might be time to consider a new direction like electronic wayfinding.

It just might be your hospital’s best change yet.

Lindsey McCaffrey is a freelance web and social media copywriter/blogger based in Ottawa, Canada. Read her Absolutely Write blog at


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