Increasingly, hospitals and healthcare professionals are turning towards innovative technologies to make their workplaces more efficient; improving patient flows, operational efficiency, resource utilization, and ultimately, the overall patient experience.
So, how can Experiential Wayfinding and technologies like the 'Internet of Things' contribute to turning these challenges into opportunities?
Let’s look at 5 specific ways in which hospital wayfinding systems can enhance the patient experience :
1. Reduced Wait Time
Patients arrive at a hospital expecting to be seen at their allocated appointment time. However, they are often subject to long wait times, causing them frustration and in turn creating a constant source of interruption for hospital staff.
Studies show that 64% of patient’s rate waiting times as unsatisfactory. The biggest concern is that this results in patient dissatisfaction with the overall experience. Patient flow management (PFM) systems play an important role in reducing wait times. However, patients still face challenges navigating complex hospital layouts and encounter delays on-route to the hospital – all contributing to hospital efficiency.
Integrating PFM and Wayfinding applications takes hospitals a step closer to creating a more efficient experience, for instance:
Providing patients with appointment information in the context of traffic delays on the way to the hospital;
Room-to-room navigation for patients with several different procedures in single visits, to ensure that patients don’t get lost between appointments, arriving late;
Notifications to patients of appointment delays prior to their departure for the hospital.
An integrated wayfinding platform goes beyond simply providing wait times, it gives patients the information they need to plan their day around the expected waiting time and ultimately get much more accomplished in their respective days.
2. Staff Interruptions
In a busy hospital, the ability to work uninterrupted is absolutely critical. It’s no secret that the majority of interruptions occur due to confusion that results from a general lack of efficiency inherent in a system itself.
Visiting a hospital is a stressful situation by its very nature; patients are often worried, in pain and anxious. In this condition they are going to find it more difficult to navigate a complex facility, especially if the visit involves multiple procedures.
Lost patients are in danger of wandering into restricted areas and become a source of constant disruption putting a huge strain on healthcare workers. From admission through treatment, having the ability to guide patients effectively throughout the hospital facility will greatly reduce the amount of unplanned disturbances in the workplace.
3. Timely Appointments
Every year, uncountable hours of both patients’ and healthcare worker’s valuable time is wasted due to confusion over appointment times or simply through factors outside of the control of both parties.
Integrating wayfinding with hospital scheduling systems, parking systems and Google maps will help solve this problem by providing doctors and patients alike with appointment information in the context of external factors, including traffic congestion.
This technological advancement will give both parties the ability to avoid congestion and easily locate a parking space near the closest entrance to their appointment location. These saved minutes may seem trivial when viewed on an individual basis but, in the long run, these minutes will add up and could prove invaluable.
4. Reduced Stress and Anxiety
In a stressful hospital environment, whether you’re a professional trying to save lives or a patient trying to get help, anxiety goes hand in hand with the nature of the place itself. While much of this tension is unavoidable, it is possible to reduce a large portion of it.
A more integrated wayfinding system offers the promise of increased efficiency, by eliminating various time-wasting, frustrating activities. Whether it be getting lost in the labyrinth of hospital corridors or double booking a hospital room, these frustrations can be alleviated through a more integrated wayfinding experience.
5. Patient Scores
A huge factor in managing any hospital is balancing the patient load across available resources. In emergency situations, when resources are stretched to breaking point, hospitals will divert ambulances to an alternate location.
What if the same option were available for patients? When a hospital is being stretched beyond the capacity of its resources, wait times become intolerable and the facility is simply chaotic. Why not offer patients an alternate option?
With the integration of wayfinding, PFM and scheduling systems, hospitals administration can send notifications offering patients a change of appointment or alternate appointment location. Patients may be much happier driving an extra 5 miles to a blood lab instead of enduring a 45 minute wait time.
These five key benefits of an integrated wayfinding platform can change the way hospitals are viewed. From a stressful and crowded place, to a reliable and easy-to-navigate facility.
In our experience, larger, more complex hospitals have the most to gain from the benefits of integrating wayfinding with other systems, including: enhanced patient experience, improved operational efficiency, improved resource utilization, staff retention and not least of all, improved patients scores.
Download our free white paper, 'Better Healthcare Through Connected Technology' today to start your healthcare IoT journey.