The Cost of Patients Getting Lost in Hospitals
Oppna Digital

The Cost of Patients Getting Lost in Hospitals

Visiting a hospital can be stressful enough, let alone trying to navigate your way around one. Without proper wayfinding design and strategies, patients can quickly find themselves trapped in a daunting maze, especially elderly or disabled people trying to get acquainted with a new change of scenery.

But while much of the importance of proficient medical wayfinding signage systems is associated with improving workplace efficiency or enhancing overall patient experience, rarely is the financial aspect of inefficient wayfinding strategies discussed. In a high stakes, high-pressured working environment as intense as a hospital, failure to provide sufficient navigational resources can prove costly in regards to both public safety and economically speaking.

Here are just a few examples of how much patients getting lost in hospitals actually costs healthcare facilities in the long run.

The Domino Effect

To truly analyze how inefficient wayfinding signage systems can economically impact hospitals, you need to break it down step-by-step, assessing how one person getting lost can create a domino effect that ultimately leads to an increase in expenses. One study found that wayfinding issues can cost a hospital upwards of $220,000 a year, pegging much of the economic fallout on the stress experienced by patients struggling to navigate their way through healthcare facilities. When a patient experiences trouble finding their way throughout a hospital, they experience stress, which can lead to any of the following outcomes and consequences:

●        Physical reactions, such as raised blood pressure, headaches, or fatigue, potentially leading to longer hospital stays and requiring more resources and attentive care

●        Seeking out assistance, resulting in healthcare staff neglecting their duties to provide patients with navigational assistance

●        Appointment no-shows, due to feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by the lack of wayfinding resources

●        Diminished patient retention as a result of confusion, vexation, or annoyance, due to insufficient wayfinding systems

All of these scenarios have their own economic consequences that ultimately result in unforeseen expenses or revenue losses that a hospital is forced to deal with.

Missed Appointments

Appointment no-shows can prove to be quite costly for hospitals, and are often attributed to minimal navigational resources being present at any given healthcare facility. Research has shown that missed appointments cost U.S. hospitals an average of $150 billion every year, continuing to be one of the biggest economic challenges healthcare facilities face on a daily basis. Proficient wayfinding systems will only help toward reducing the number of missed appointments a hospital will endure on an annual basis. 

Relish the Value of Professional Wayfinding Strategies

At the end of the day, the more your hospital can invest in enhancing patient experience, the more your hospital can cut down on missed appointments and stressed out visitors. When you need professional digital wayfinding design and strategies, Oppna Digital has the team, resources, and experience to upgrade your hospital’s medical wayfinding systems. Contact us today to request a demo of our services, or call us at 651-237-5677 to speak directly with one of our wayfinding strategists.

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