Signage or safety signs are the most prevalent safety devices. They’ve been vital in preventing industrial injuries since the turn of the century and are still used to save thousands of lives every year. But the safety signs you see today are far different from those that hung on industrial walls decades ago.
It has taken many years and several standardizations to get to the point where everyone can understand safety signage and wayfinding regardless of culture or language, resulting in easier hospital navigation and improved patient experience.
History of Signage
Many historians believe the Greeks and Romans invented signs. A lack of literacy forced them to use pictures to identify businesses and government buildings. These signs evolved over time, incorporating hand-carved wood, vibrant paintings, and gold engraving.
Due to rapid urbanisation, there was a need to regulate sign size and location. The Industrial Revolution enabled the widespread production of signs, especially in the healthcare sector.
Initially, light bulbs were used to illuminate signage at night and draw attention. Printed signage became more accessible to all sectors of the economy after plastics were created in the 1950s.
The Roles of Signage in Healthcare
Each signage in the health sector communicates an important message to the viewer (patient, visitor, visitor, public, or staff). And it can play a part in improving a medical center’s reputation. Also, the presence of the technology itself is a brand message, apart from images and content.
Improved User Experience
Instructions, waiting times, and prompt updating can improve the experience for visitors in pleasant, productive, and timely ways.
Natural content in wayfinding signs includes information and instructions on health and healthy living. Through signage, news, information on public safety, emergency directives, fire escape guidelines, or recommendations for handling an emergency can be conveyed to a broader audience without initiating one-on-one interactions.
Marketing and Public Relations
Timely messaging through signage can be generic or targeted at a particular audience or demographic group. For example, you can use signage to promote a charity, community fundraising, or health awareness-related event.
For Staff Management
Operational, administrative, and policy modifications can swiftly be communicated throughout the organisation using systems focused on your internal public groups or departments.
Better Crowd Control
In the healthcare sector, signage for finding the way gives patients and visitors greater visibility into the wait periods to facilitate them and avoid frustration. It can also integrate into the queue systems and provide information that helps your staff manage crowds more effectively.
Leading sign providers and dealers are now offering customised online design tools which allow you to create online signage in minutes. The user can select a sign header, a pictogram, size, wording, and sign material of their choice.
Customised signage has opened the way for healthcare centers to better customise their messages according to specific needs. You can add customised language and necessary information to make signs for staff and visitors more effective.
How to Select the Right Signage for the Healthcare Sector
Finding your way through a massive medical centre can be tougher than you thought. That’s where signage comes to the fore. Wayfinding signage is found everywhere in the medical industry, and it’s impossible not to notice them. But there’s more to hospital signage in healthcare than it seems:
- Simplicity is The Key
It’s obvious that people visiting healthcare institutions or hospitals have a lot on their minds. In this setting, simple signage is preferred. Avoid any unnecessary stress caused by difficult-to-see signage. Complexity might cause unneeded concern for readers. A sturdy yet simple signage system will relax them and focus their attention where it is needed the most.
- Transparency is Important
Unless you’re a doctor or work in a hospital, you’re probably unfamiliar with medical terms. It’s best to use patient- and visitor-friendly signs. The signs must strike a balance between details and efficiency.
- Easy Correspondence
The most important benefit of well-designed healthcare signage is that visitors are now in charge. But, there will always be outliers who require human intervention. Ensure that your team understands and utilises the same vocabulary when dealing with visitors. It helps new patients or visitors who are referencing signage to find their way.
The New Era of Signage Amassed with Technology
Computers have revolutionised signage and wayfinding in several ways. Now, enterprises no longer have to rely on skilled artists who draw by hand. Also, they are not limited to physical signage in the health sector anymore.
In a stressful setting, navigating a medical facility can get hectic. For anxious first-time visitors, it can be hard to understand complex signs with medical jargon and locate places. Hospitals are difficult to traverse due to their complicated mix of services, configuration, and scale.
Unlike physical signage, digital navigation starts at the user’s present position, with no need to understand signs and symbols. A digital signage system brings the visitors to their desired destination within the facility. It removes the guesswork from route planning. Visitors can anticipate their entire path to their destination, unlike the physical method.
Hospitals using digital signage and wayfinding technologies offer visitors a favourable experience with real-time, seamless guidance. It also increases staff efficiency and safety.
Role of Signage During the Recent Pandemic
It is hardly surprising that during a global health pandemic (COVID-19), every healthcare business had to improve and adapt its services rapidly. New healthcare trends have stepped in to help alleviate some of the largest pandemic-related safety issues.
Healthcare digital signage provides practical solutions for both healthcare providers and patients during COVID-19. Digital communications can reduce in-person interactions while providing crucial information to patients.
It is undeniable that signage can help hospitals and medical centres boost patient safety and make the lives of healthcare providers easier. Hospital administrators have now started utilising digital signage for various purposes.
A signage plan for the health sector may seem straightforward, but it has tremendous complexity and impact on the visitor experience. It requires many stakeholders’ involvement and participation and a strong awareness of users’ behavioural patterns. Overall, digital signage helps reduce stress by streamlining hospital operations and improving patient care.