As we continue to learn more and adopt new ways of thinking about hospital design, many buildings have become antiquated. In addition, the speed of technological advances frequently reduces the life cycle of new buildings, making them obsolete in years rather than decades.
Most healthcare campuses evolve over time as a series of buildings and expansions, usually of differing architectural styles and construction that are cobbled together and ultimately become a maze of winding corridors that are very difficult for visitors to navigate. Large metropolitan facilities often span several city blocks, and are connected by bridges or tunnels.
Transition points along one’s path of travel, such as building entrances or elevator lobbies are often not clearly identified following an addition.
As a matter of code, practicality and safety, facilities must establish boundaries with public, regulated, and restricted areas. In older facilities, these requisites are difficult if not impossible to satisfy, and so concessions are made that further complicate the navigation process.
The cost to re-purpose or renovate existing healthcare buildings for new uses can be expensive, averaging $400/SF excluding equipment across the US, with cost/SF in metropolitan areas over $1000/SF.(http://www.hfmmagazine.com/articles/1878-2016-hospital-construction-survey).
However, many hospitals invest significant capital resources in facility upgrades, but do not consider upgrading their wayfinding strategies. With the increased focus on patient experience and use of HCAPHS scores in determining reimbursement levels, a successful wayfinding program can be cost effectively implemented and can have a direct impact on your revenue stream.
So, consider an upgrade to your wayfinding program as part of your next building renovation.