‘Sorry, can you help me?’ is one of the most asked questions and interruptions for hospital staff. And this does not limit itself to the reception. Even though they are often busy with critical clinical tasks, hospital staff frequently need to stop what they are doing to give visitors and patients directions, or to literally take them by the hand to guide them to their destination…
A 460 bed Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, received a high number of complaints about the poor wayfinding (in fact 76% of the complaints they received were about wayfinding). Many visitors could not find their destination. As a result, they became frustrated, angry and sometimes even violent. They missed their appointments and sometimes became too stressed to undergo their treatment.
Research turned up some confronting statistics: Approximately 2.5% of each shift was spent by staff giving directions, or escorting patients and visitors through the hospital. This equated to an estimated cost in lost staff time of AU$2,200,000 / €1,500.000 per year! (Calculating an average staff hour cost of AU$ 30 / € 20 average per hour. Think about it: over 73,300 hours lost per year = approx. 38 FTE’s …)
A smart Wayfinding system will safe substantial staff costs…
A new holistic wayfinding system was designed and implemented by ID/Lab. The complaints were reduced dramatically and both visitor and staff experiences improved substantially. Follow up research, after the implementation of the new system, demonstrated that a saving in staff time cost of AU$733,000 / €500,000 yearly (!) was achieved.
The overall investment of consultancy, design and actual changes in the architecture and signs was approximately €250,000. The hospital achieved a Return Of Investment within a year and is profiting from the changes ever since.
Do you want to check how much you can save in your own hospital?
The independent research company Initial Concept, in collaboration with ID/Lab, has developed a ready-to-run online audit specifically for medium and large hospitals, that will give you insight into how much time your staff are engaged in giving directions to patients and visitors, and allow you to cost this time spent yourself. This in turn will assist you in creating a business for improving your present Wayfinding system.