HEALTHCARE SIGNAGEJULY 24, 2020| SpeedPro Philadelphia North
When someone visits a healthcare facility, they should find themselves in an environment that’s easy to navigate and as stress-free as possible. From an administration perspective, each visit from a guest creates an opportunity for that person to stay with the practice or become a patient the next time they need medical care. For that to happen, the facility needs to impress the person.
One aspect of a building’s design can influence all of these factors and more: signage. Healthcare signage includes everything from the banners on the wall advertising flu shots to the directional signage guiding guests through the building. Let’s take a close look at the uses for signage and the ways you’ll see it used in a healthcare facility.
WAYS TO USE HEALTHCARE SIGNAGE
Hospital signage can serve a wide range of purposes, from offering essential information to creating a comforting tone with atmospheric graphics.
Below are some of the areas in which healthcare signage can go to work for a healthcare practice.
Promoting your facility is a necessary component of running a hospital or practice. Signage offers you a place to talk about the services you offer, brag about your staff members and get people excited about upcoming events.
Advertising also works to inform your clientele about the goings-on in the practice. Flu shots, for instance, are something that doesn’t always happen in hospitals anymore. People get them done wherever it’s convenient. Make sure they know if your facility is one of those places.
Advertising can occur in the form of traditional signs on windows and walls, or you can go for a bit more flair with elevator wraps, wall murals and digital signage. These sign methods can be more attention-grabbing and unique, plus they reach people at specific points of their visit, which you can use to your advantage.
Outdoor advertising is also important for healthcare facilities. Outdoor flags can show people driving by that you offer the care that they need — especially during events like blood drives and screening sessions — while pointing them in the right direction. Many healthcare practices also advertise on vehicles to get their image out to the community.
Hospitals can be massive. Between multiple, large wings and hallways that all look alike, it’s no surprise that people need help getting around them. Wayfinding and directional signage is a necessity for hospitals and medical practices. These signs tell people where they are and where to go to find certain spaces. If you’re looking for the reception area and see a big arrow with the word “reception” under it, you’ll probably have a good idea of where to go.
These signs should be clear and easy to understand. Creativity is great, but clarity is typically the priority when it comes to directions. You’ll also have to consider how these signs play into the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For instance, signs need to be placed at a specific height and include Braille alternatives, but we’ll talk more about that later.
3. WARNINGS AND RESTRICTIONS
Whether it’s a high-radiation X-ray room or a room where phone signals can impact machine operation, warnings and restrictions are necessary in places all over a hospital. If visitors enter areas with radiation, lasers or biohazards, they could be exposed to dangerous substances that affect their long-term health.
Keeping visitors out of these rooms prevents more than just health and safety risks — it can also help you prove, should litigation or questions from authorities come up, that you’ve clearly demonstrated the dangers of that area.
Warning signage is also critical for ensuring that staff members understand their environment. A badly conceived and designed healthcare setting can increase the likelihood of human error and clumsy behavior. In addition to the typical warning signage, marking containers or areas designated for biohazards or soiled linens can alert staff members to the dangers in front of them. They can then use the appropriate precautions to clean up or handle the substances.
Again, these signs prioritize clarity and visibility, and there are likely some regulatory designs you’ll have to stick to when displaying warning signs, such as those set in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
4. BRAND RECOGNITION
Brand recognition often goes hand-in-hand with advertising. The idea is to promote the values and qualities of your practice that make it worthwhile for patients to choose. Within brand recognition signage, you can promote the quality and skill of your staff, the rigorous standards you meet and the certifications that you have.
Another aspect to promote is the values of your practice. Are you family-oriented? Do you have a strong focus on geriatric care or staff credentials? Emphasize these traits in your signage, and you’ll show patients why your practice is the best choice.
You can also use brand recognition outside of the building. Banners, flags and other outdoor signage can make patients aware of your practice so they know where to go when they need care.
Let’s face it — hospitals can be dreary places. People are usually there for unpleasant reasons, and they’re in a stressful new environment. This atmosphere, especially if it is poorly designed, can create stress for patients, making their experience unpleasant. Plus, stress has many different negative effects on the body, which could potentially impact patients’ care and recovery.
Patients aren’t the only ones who feel the influence of an upsetting environment. Healthcare workers, who already deal with the pressure of the hospital workload, can struggle with occupational stress than influences their performance and the doctor- or nurse-patient relationship.
So how can signage help reduce stress in the workplace? It can show your patients and staff that they are in a place that cares about their wellbeing, that positivity and hope are at the forefront of the experience. Light, pleasant colors and comforting signage help send this message.
Studies have shown that the following aspects can influence the healing environment:
- Outdoor views
These are all factors that signs can improve. You can brighten up a space with relaxing pastel colors, place a mural of happy zoo animals on the wall to add positivity to a children’s ward or put up nature-themed artwork to make everyone feel more at peace.
Children’s wards and long-term care departments can especially benefit from positive environments. Kids are often more sensitive to their environment than adults, and a cold, clinical hospital can be scary and stressful, slowing the healing process. For those who are spending a long time in the hospital, a positive environment can have a big effect on day-to-day moods and stress levels.
TYPES OF HEALTHCARE SIGNAGE
As you’ve likely gathered, the signage of a hospital serves many purposes. It can advertise, comfort and inform, among other goals. That versatility applies to both large hospitals and smaller practices. With such an array of uses and sign locations, it stands to reason that you can use many different types of signs.
Inside the facility, you might find the following signage options:
- Window graphics: Placing images on the windows allows you to add graphics and information without blocking healthy natural light. It can also improve the look of the building from the outside. Another option is to use one-way window graphics that appear as solid signs on the outside, but still allow people inside to see through it. You can advertise your practice while leaving your lobby well-lit and feeling spacious.
- Custom wall murals: For soothing or fun imagery that brightens up a space, custom wall murals are an excellent approach. Place a forest landscape to transport people somewhere else or create an array of cartoony characters for children. Turning custom murals into office signs for indoor use is an excellent way for private practices, like dentists, counselors, rehabilitation facilities and chiropractors, to stand out.
- Wayfinding signage: These custom directional signs include the indicators that tell people where to go and identify rooms. The numbered labels outside of rooms, the arrows that point to departments and the reception signage above the check-in desk are all forms of indoor directional signage that every healthcare practice needs.
- Event and promotional graphics: These graphics tell your visitors about your services and upcoming events, such as blood drives and free screenings. Place banners in your lobby or add office wall coverings to promote your practice and show your values to potential patients.
- Architectural and glass finishes: Consider architectural and glass finishes for a high-end addition to your building. Office graphics that look like privacy glass or add decorative accents can make the practice a much more pleasant and trustworthy environment. Outdoor finishes can create impressive curb appeal, too.
- Digital signage. With the ever-changing environment of a healthcare facility, digital signage can provide patients and visitors with updates. Practices with multiple providers can notify patients in the waiting room if doctors or nurse practitioners are running behind. Cafeteria areas can cycle through their meal offerings for the day, and break rooms displays can share supportive, informational and entertaining messaging for staff members.
- Elevator wraps. Creative elevator graphics can help you use every inch of design real estate available to you. Plus, they reach many of the people who walk through your doors. You can use elevator space to advertise your offerings, show off what your practice has to offer or add to the decor of your facility.
Of course, if you want to get people inside, you’ll have to add some outdoor signage too. These sign types include:
- Outdoor directional signs: Some hospital campuses can be huge, and even finding the right parking lot is difficult. Small practices can also benefit from helping patients park correctly and not block important safety entrances. Include signs to tell people where to park and what buildings are nearby for a straightforward visit.
- Banners and graphics: Many of the reasons you’d place promotional graphics indoors can also support outdoor graphics. A banner on the side of the building promoting your values or outdoor flags leading people to a blood drive are all excellent ways to move your advertising outside.
- Vehicle wraps: Whether you have a company vehicle or want to partner with the local bus system, wrapping a vehicle in branded vinyl can advertise your practice everywhere you go. It’s an excellent way to get more bang for your buck with a company car.
Even with all of these options, we’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg. Hospitals and private practices need to meet many needs, so they can use signs of all shapes and sizes.
TIPS FOR CREATING HEALTHCARE SIGNAGE
As you begin to design signage for a healthcare environment, keep the following aspects in mind for the most effective results:
- Understand your values: If you’re promoting your practice through signage, make sure the qualities you advertise are clear and in line with your values. You want to focus on graphics that reinforce specific aspects and don’t try to cover everything.
- Focus on your staff: Consider having your physicians and other staff members pose as the face of the practice. Let visitors see the people running the show to gather more trust and create transparency.
- Keep ADA compliance in mind: Ensure that all your visitors will be able to read your signs. ADA compliance can be especially important in a hospital due to the varying nature of patient conditions. Things like contrast, font size, style, placement, color choices, images, Braille and even the finish of a sign have to meet specific ADA requirements. While it can be confusing, we’ve written up a guide on the topic and our technicians are well-versed in meeting ADA compliance for signs, so we can help walk you through it.
THE SPEEDPRO ADVANTAGE
SpeedPro studios across the country have worked with hospitals and private practices to turn dreary, clinical environments into vibrant places that exude hope and quality care.
One example of our work comes from Central New York, where SpeedPro partnered with some of the largest health care systems and providers in the area. Partners at those hospitals and practices worked with us to:
- Upgrade primary care waiting rooms with custom wall murals.
- Add new life to the decor of walk-in clinics with sponsorship walls and staff portraits.
- Create billing information signage.
- Wrap buses, vans and other vehicles with advertising.
SpeedPro designers can help healthcare facilities from all over the country improve the look and feel of their graphics and decor. Whether these practices want to increase attendance to healthcare events, make rooms more inviting or accomplish any other goals, we can help develop signs that get the job done.