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How wayfinding is playing a key role in hospitals amid the COVID-19 outbreak

Although COVID-19 has affected the majority of the globe, the one thing seen during the current Coronavirus outbreak is the speed at which we can adapt to situations when technology is used productively.

Through the use of communities and technologies, it seems that nations and cities all over the world are coming together and helping each other to make life easier and less frustrating in this hectic time of uncertainty.

One hospital in the United States has successfully used wayfinding technology to improve the lives of its patients and guests during the COVID-19 outbreak.

How it’s being used to help control the US Coronavirus outbreak

A US-based hospital has recently made some proactive updates to its wayfinding application by deciding to limit points of access to the building.

The medical institution took this action in order to better control the flow of patients by reducing the number of ways patients and visitors could enter.

Nine entrances were reduced to just three and a bridge that connects the parking garage to the building in an attempt to manage the influx of patients and reduce the risk of further spreading of the virus.

This was done within a matter of minutes by simply shutting down these points of entry in the main hospital’s wayfinding system.

Once complete, these updates are automatically pushed out to the wayfinding applications (kiosk, web and/or mobile) to update any routes, so that it no longer includes these entrances, taking away the need for human interaction when attempting to relay the message.

Additional staff isn’t required at these entrances to guide visitors, nor were patients frantically wandering around the complex, potentially spreading or contracting the disease further as the application ensured they got to the room they needed to be without any hassle.

All this was done within the space of minutes thanks to the technology used. The hospital can now send out appointment reminders with links attached, providing patients with walking routes, safer environments and saving them frustration from finding a door is temporarily inaccessible. 

Purple sent info about what the one facility had asked to change and an additional 3 hospitals came back to our wayfinding team with route changes directly related to the containment of coronavirus.

The majority of concerns were for the buildings to be updated to reflect the closed entrances to help control the ways patients and visitors can access as well as updating to show new ward movements.

Wayfind application used to improve hospitals

How else can wayfinding be used in a crisis? 

Wayfinding technology, especially Purple’s blue dot navigation application, during times of emergency at hospitals and other large complex venues can make quick updates to their application, assisting visitors with ease.

Fire and evacuations

A safety feature that enables venues to send out automatic instructions to users (accompanied by the fire alarm system) directing them, turn-by-turn to their nearest exit, taking away additional stress to the user.

In other evacuation procedures, certain entrances and exits and elevators could be blocked off on the wayfinding application to control the flow of traffic coming out from a building, or the opposite.

Unexpected disasters 

Throughout history, hospitals have become overflowing with patients due to circumstances such as natural disasters and wars with no sign of that stopping anytime soon. 

When these occur a hospital can descend into a version of chaos quickly, with patients being placed in whatever rooms they can to help with the mass influx of people.

This sort of logistical nightmare can have detrimental effects on patients and staff when Doctors and nurses are trying to locate certain groups of people. 

Patients can be sectioned by injury type/severity and that area can be tagged on our wayfinding application, with real-time updates. This could allow doctors to keep track of locations when these sorts of extreme measures are being taken.

 

Written by Callum Clark

Published on March 18, 2020


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