Signs of the Times - October 2017 - 38
THREE DIFFERENT WAYS OF
WORKING IN HEALTHCARE.
BY ROBIN DONOVAN
AVE you ever been lost in a hospital?
It can be an unsettling feeling, as one
beige corridor leads to another.
Or so it was.
Today's hospitals are increasingly
sensitive to patient satisfaction.
Thank the Affordable Care Act
which, in part, linked Medicare reimbursements with
patient satisfaction. The money at stake is typically a
tiny percentage of a facility's potential revenue, but the
mindset shift it represents is worth much more. Decades
ago, a hospital was for sick people. Now, hospitals - sorry,
healthcare organizations - are trying to attract everyone
from kids to the worried well to the truly ill. Mergers and
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
acquisitions are on the rise as these organizations race to
increase brand awareness. (For a more detailed snapshot,
try the "50 things to know about the hospital industry"
pieces published annually on beckershospitalreview.com).
Those consolidations drive new branding campaigns
and, of course, new signage. And with all the emphasis
on being a friendly face in the community, wayfinding
is a priority, according to John McCarthy, national sales
manager at Kieffer | Starlite (Sheboygan, WI). They're a
national player, but even they studiously stay abreast of
healthcare signage regulations. Think illuminated signs for
emergency departments, as well as guidelines to reduce
dust and potential pathogen exposure.
Speaking of scary, if you're working in healthcare, take the
amount you expect to spend on a project and triple it.
Between contamination concerns and constantly occupied
beds, there's no downtime in these spaces.
"It felt weird coming into a patient's room and totally
invading their space. I felt like I should have brought flowers,"
said Elizabeth Howard, owner/production manager for
Lola Red Design Group (San Luis Obispo, CA). When the
nearby Arroyo Grande Community Hospital needed new
signage, Howard hoped to be the provider, but no luck.
Howard called around to other sign companies. Had
they completed the work? Nope. Did they know who
had? No luck there, either. Unabashed, she contacted the