It’s possible that you’ve never even thought about it, but hospital wayfinding problems could cost our health service a lot of money. You might ask how this is even possible. After all, somehow you can always find your way to the right place. However, data shows that this is a huge problem that many of us are not aware of.
Hospital wayfinding – it costs us a fortune
Think about it. How many times have you been to the hospital? Hopefully not many, and with that hope, I can confidently say that if you found yourself there again you certainly wouldn’t remember the way to the doctor’s office you had been to before. And if you happen to have to find your way to yet another office I can state with 100% certainty that you would not know the way.
Hospitals are usually huge buildings. In that case, you have to look for signs that will direct you to the right place or ask a staff person you meet for directions – most likely a nurse or doctor.
Emory University conducted a study that showed that hospital staff spent more than 4,500 hours a year touting how to get to a specific place in the hospital. It is huge time waste. And time waste means money to waste. Being late for one appointment causes a waterfall effect and causes many delays.
What may also prove to be a problem is that even some of the staff will not be able to point the way. They often work in one part of the hospital and do not know the exact layout of the various departments of the hospital.
GPS brings you to the hospital and what dale? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a solution that showed you the exact route to the doctor’s office inside the building? Interestingly, such a solution is possible and works thanks to beacons. Beacon-based hospital wayfinding solutions are implemented in many hospitals all over the world.
Beacons are small devices that are placed throughout a building. They connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone and show the exact location and route to a specific place. They can also give additional information.
Of course, we can’t do away with traditional signage in the building. After all, not everyone is used to using a phone for this purpose, but as the generation changes, this will become more and more popular.
Using beacons also has the advantage of low cost and ease of changing information. If a hospital department changes its name or location, all you have to do is enter the appropriate information into the system. With traditional signs, the cost of replacing signage is much higher and more time-consuming.
The next time you’re in a hospital or other large building where you need to find your way, think about how easy it would be if your phone gave you directions. Such a revolution is already happening before our eyes.