Ultimate Guide To Building A Wayfinding Application

Visiting a hospital can be a daunting task for patients as well as their caregivers. Navigating through the endless corridors, hospital complexes, and hundreds of rooms to reach the destination with mounting anxiety can be a challenging task. Hospital wayfinding management aims at making navigation to and within your facility streamlined for the visitors.

In an eye-opening case study by Emory University which analyzed the monetary and non-monetary impact of hospital wayfinding, poor wayfinding solutions were estimated to cost their hospital $220,000 annually.

Streamlining can spital navigation through a state of the art hospital wayfinding solutions offers an enhanced patient experience while resulting in significant cost savings at the same time.

Navigating through the hospital premises has come a long way from the wall-mounted signs and signages. Technology has a major role to play in this transformation.

As mobile technology becomes more ubiquitous, navigating through the hospital premises is being assisted by specialized wayfinding mobile applications rather than relying on old school signboards, hoardings, and maps.

Designing a wayfinding app for the hospital

When it comes to designing wayfinding applications for hospitals, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works. While the goals of developing it may remain the same- streamlining patient flow, enhancing accessibility and boosting patient engagement and experience, the actual design and development remain unique to the hospital’s size, configuration and community it primarily caters to.

However, before we take a deep dive into the criteria that need to be fulfilled when designing and developing a wayfinding application for your hospital, let’s talk about the benefits you should expect in doing so.

1. Turn-by-turn navigation within the hospital

The tech-savvy modern-day consumers are used to navigating using GPS technology to reach their destination. A wayfinding application fulfils the same role in indoor navigation inside the hospital premises. Using indoor mapping technology, patients, caregivers and even hospital staff can quickly find their way in the hospital maze and reach their destination.

2. Unaided smart-location search

Having dedicated staff to point the visitors in the right direction can turn out to be a resource-intensive activity. In large hospitals with higher footfall, the time and effort required in solving the visitor queries can be high. Physical signages can certainly help but are not foolproof and tend to be impersonal. Wayfinding apps can bridge this gap. By simply searching for the destination within the app, the users can get full information about their destination and how they can get there.

3. Enhanced visitor experience

A good patient experience not only results in higher engagement and better health outcomes but it also contributes to increased revenue generation for the hospital. By taking control of the narrative and providing engaging visitor experiences, hospitals can ensure positive word-of-mouth and increased revenue as a result of it.

4. Collection and analysis of visitor data

Data is the new digital currency. By having access to data regarding traffic patterns, peak footfalls, engagement and more, hospitals can perform data analytics and predict future trends. Data can give vital insights into the demand and consumption patterns, engagement metrics and possible bottlenecks that can be utilized to streamline the visitor journey further.

Best practices for designing a wayfinding application

1. Implement scannable QR codes at the entrances

For first time visitors, who might not have the app installed on their mobile devices, scannable QR codes make downloading the application an easy process. By lowering the amount of efforts required to download the app, hospitals can guarantee higher adoption rates of technology.

2. Focus on a wide range of users

The purpose of the wayfinding app is to make the hospital visit a seamless experience for all. Making it accessible to users across a range of users is crucial. All user groups irrespective of the age, tech-savviness, literacy level or language barriers should be able to navigate through the hospital via the app.

3. Don’t just rely on medical jargon

Odds are that most patients are not well versed in medical terminology. A hospital wayfinding application that relies solely on it might lead to more confusion. Medical professionals, patients and visitors can all understand familiar, non-medical terms, using less jargon-filled language will enable faster navigation.

4. Extend the visual brand and design

Wayfinding application design needs to be an extension of the existing hospital brand. Consistent branding across all platforms and outlets is crucial for achieving an intuitive wayfinding experience. Implement hospital brand elements, icons, color, and themes in the wayfinding app you are developing. Universal icons allow signs to be easily noticeable and provide clarity to visitors reducing textual clutter in the visual design.

5. Aim for a superlative user experience

Focusing on the user experience when formulating the layout and design of the app is critical for high patient engagement levels that result in positive patient experience. Expert healthcare app developers pay attention to minute details like screen transitions, aspect ratio, touch targets to ensure that users have the best possible experience while using the application.

6. Explore patient enablement features

Mobile apps can be the way for hospitals to go one extra mile and deliver engaging visitor experience. One example is the car saver feature of Mercy Health Hospital’s wayfinder app- “right this way”. Visitors can store the location where they have parked their car for detailed directions to the parking spot on the way back. Another feature for patient enablement is displaying special routes for patients who have accessibility impairment.

7. Leverage technology to your advantage

All seasoned app developers will tell you that the prototyping phase is crucial for app development. While perfection is a highly coveted quality, starting with a prototype in the initial stage helps you map out the features you want to implement within the application better. Innovative technologies such as Augmented reality are likely going to make it big in healthcare. Hospital wayfinding apps would likely be an area where AR can contribute greatly in the days to come and would contribute to user delight.

Closing Words

Wayfinding applications are revolutionizing navigation within the hospitals and healthcare facilities. As technology makes its presence felt across the healthcare industry, the institutions making the move to custom develop these applications would set themselves apart and emerge as trendsetters.

Partnering with experienced healthcare developers can get you started on the right foot. With expertise in healthcare development and a range of successfully completed projects in our portfolio, Arkenea is one of the industry leaders. Get in touch with us to discuss your project requirements today.

Vinati Kamani
 

Dr Vinati Kamani writes about emerging technology and its application across industries for Arkenea. She is an avid reader and self proclaimed bibliophile. When Vinati is not at her desk penning down articles or reading up on the recent trends, she can be found travelling to remote places and soaking up different cultural experiences.