Airports, shopping malls inspire revamped hospital designs

Hospitals are making it easier for patients and visitors to navigate their facilities by emulating airport and shopping mall designs, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Modifications, such as placing interactive kiosks at hospital entrances for people to chart their routes or installing landmarks along hallways to help patients and visitors orient themselves, will help ease patients' anxiety and streamline the patient experience, a process design experts call "wayfinding."

The Cleveland Clinic is even developing a wayfinding app for its main campus, essentially a GPS for walking around the facility, according to the WSJ. 

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, which includes Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia, is studying how wayfinding works in malls and hotels after receiving complaints from patients and visitors that there wasn't enough signage to navigate from the parking garage to the main elevators, Chief Administrative Officer Kevin B. Mahoney told the WSJ.

Hospital signage is also getting a facelift. Some hospitals now use symbols to represent departments, while others, such as Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, use a system of letters, images and colors to assist patients in navigating facilities, according to the article. Others are using simple language to describe departments, such as "Labor and Delivery" instead of "Antepartum and Postpartum."

Hospitals are increasingly paying attention to detail to make patients more comfortable during their stay and promote efficiency and innovation, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the WSJ article

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