All posts by Innerface

When Someone Needs Care, a Conversation Begins

This conversation is between the patient and the providers. If it’s done correctly, the providers guide and adapt the care process to the patient’s needs.  This conversation is at least as, and frequently more critical to a successful patient outcome as the resulting treatments and procedures.  The sources for the conversation include the physicians and staff members offering care and talking with the patient, and the various written and displayed information that the patient is expected to read and interpret.

Healthcare has changed. It was once a top-down process; the patient played a passive role and was expected to just follow instructions.  It’s now a self-directed, frequently confusing series of contact points for diagnosis and treatment.  This has caused continuity to become a real challenge for both the patient and the caregivers.

The changes to the care delivery process have become so obvious and significant to the public that they need reassurance. Recognizable continuity is needed across the incredibly diverse forms of care sources.  For the patients to trust and put their faith in an apparently disconnected series of events that are intended to heal them, they must believe that their provider has connected the care sequence for them, and ensured that all of the care sources are working together.

This message of continuity needs to be conveyed on many levels by the provider-both by the individuals responsible for administering care, and within the care environment.  Since care facilities are branded environments, these messages are a vital part of the perceived quality of a healthcare brand.

Signage, wayfinding and graphics play a significant role in this message, both from a functional perspective, and from the indirect message of image and brand.  Caregiving now takes place in such a broad range of environments that signage can be the single common element that the patient can see and identify.

With increased specialization of healthcare facilities, effective wayfinding has become even more critical to the patient experience and creation of healing environments.  Adding to the challenge is the need to support a brand identity with a graphic and wayfinding system that must meet the needs of different facility types.

Hospital SignTying It All Together

Your patients and their loved ones need to trust that, regardless of the location, they’re getting the same quality of care that they expect.  Your brand, and how it’s displayed, can help maintain that trust.  Consistency and quality should be communicated from the moment they start the care conversation.  To find out how INNERFACE can help improve the conversation with your patients, get in touch.


Healthcare Mobile Wayfinding Challenges and Opportunities

As healthcare environments evolve and increase focus on the patient and visitor experience, technology can play a valuable role in effective wayfinding and communication.  We are frequently asked by clients about the need and opportunity to create a mobile app to support patient and visitor wayfinding. While the idea sounds great on the surface, we find that wayfinding specific mobile apps have limited use and a potentially high cost for most acute care environments.

Who is your audience

When evaluating the potential audience for a wayfinding mobile app we look at how and why patients and visitors are most likely to visit your campus.  A large number of patient and visitor visits are unplanned.  Given the nature of an unplanned visit, it is unlikely that the patient or visitor is going to go through the steps to download and learn to use your mobile app:

  • Know you have a mobile app available for download
  • Go to the mobile app store, search for and then download
  • Learn how to use the app before/during arrival and site visit

Most folks will default to traditional wayfinding methods when under stress, and in the interest of time either use traditional signage elements or go straight to the nearest information/volunteer desk for assistance.   For those who have recurring appointments, they are likely to know the route to the repeat destination.

Healthcare Wayfinding SolutionsWhat is the cost?

The initial and ongoing costs of developing a wayfinding mobile app are significant.  Not only do you have multiple software platforms (iOS, Android, etc) to contend with, but also there is the issue of constant software and content updates.  Depending on the type and function of the app, you may also need to add hardware (beacons) to your building in order to accurately track wayfinding progress.  The dollars spent in development, promotion and maintenance of the wayfinding mobile app can be used in other ways that offer more flexibility and greater impact on the patient and visitor experience.

What are the alternatives?

We have many clients that have started with a goal of implementing a wayfinding mobile app and then find through discussion and research that they are able to provide effective alternative tools through less costly and more widely available alternatives.  The most common alternative to a wayfinding mobile app is a map or set of maps that can be used in a variety of ways (static signage, online, handouts, etc).  These maps can provide general orientation information or specific point to point directions.  Common uses include parking guides and simplified floor plan maps that are used by volunteers and staff.  The cost for development of a map program is minimal as the core graphics needed and supporting terminology are created during our wayfinding and planning process. 

Consistency if the Key to Success

Our experience in working with thousands of healthcare facilities of all sizes across the country tells us that the most important elements to effective wayfinding and identification relate directly to concise terminology and consistent application.  As part of our master wayfinding plan development process, we review and make recommendations for all patient and visitor communication (email, online, verbal, maps, etc) and create the visual tools to support each activity.  This includes training staff and volunteers on what terms to use when guiding patients and visitors.

Technology will play an expanding role related to patient and visitor wayfinding.  We will continue to assess tools available and recommend to clients the solutions that we believe are most effective for their audience and environment.  For an assessment of your wayfinding and identification program, get in touch.

Elkhart General Hospital Case Study

Part of the Beacon Health System and located in Elkhart, IN, Elkhart General Hospital has provided comprehensive medical care to surrounding communities for more than 100 years. Their main 410 bed campus’ scenic location is adjacent to the St. Joseph River. They have a staff of 300 physicians representing more than 30 medical specialties, and nearly 2,000 employees serving in nursing, technical, administrative, and support capacities.

With a goal of improving the patient and visitor experience and best serving the local community, Elkhart General partnered with INNERFACE to design, plan and implement a comprehensive interior signage and wayfinding master plan.

Navicent Health Case Study

Navicent Health, formerly The Medical Center of Central Georgia is a 637-bed hospital located in Macon, Georgia. Navicent Health is the second largest hospital in Georgia, behind Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Starting in 2015, Navicent selected INNERFACE as their Design+Build partner for all signage and wayfinding related to the brand change.  Our designers work closely with Navicent team to best represent their brand through effective and consistent wayfinding and identification signage across all of their campuses.  Together we used the brand change to develop a new wayfinding and identification master plan for each campus that focuses on improving the patient and visitor experience.

With several phases installed and the interior scope of work wrapping up in 2016, we are now looking to extend the brand and improve wayfinding in the interior spaces.

Houston Relief

The best thing you can tell a child who is experiencing an extended stay in a hospital is “You get to go home”.  After all, this is where all of their toys are, their room, and their family. For many of Houston’s children staying in the Texas Children’s Hospital there may not be a home to go back to. 

Hearing this, the INNERFACE felt a call to action.  We worked quickly to provide donations of practical items like, food, toiletries, clothing, diapers, and formula along with comforting items like toys and coloring books to help ease the burden of what has been lost.

The Texas Children’s Hospital is one of many Houston institutions taking in evacuees. Team INNERFACE is proud to offer our support and donations.

If you’re interested in helping victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, consider a donation to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, or a local institution helping those in need.

Celebrating Anniversaries

INNERFACE is so proud to have so many long standing members of our team. In today’s high turnover environment, it is rare for a company to be able to celebrate as often as we do the experience and longevity of their team. This week we recognized four of these amazing individuals as they celebrate milestone anniversaries with INNERFACE.
Congratulations to:

Michael McWilliams – 20 years
Hai Nguyen – 15 Years
Kimberley McDaniel – 10 Years
Megan Dolan – 5 Years
And a big shout out and thank you to the INNERFACE team working together to make every project a success!

INNERFACE and Red Nose Day

INNERFACE is proud to support Red Nose Day by Comic Relief. Comic Relief raises money, and awareness for childhood poverty through events like Red Nose Day.

Each donation goes to help children in need receive health care, educational supplies, and food. Check out photos of the INNERFACE team showing our support for Red Nose Day.

To help in ending childhood poverty visit to learn more.

What does your Design say?

First Impressions

It is no secret in healthcare that a first time visit for a patient can be scary. Be it a toddler coming in for a first check-up or a cancer patient receiving their third round of chemo, there is a lot to think about when you first walk in.  Often the décor isn’t the first thing on a patient’s mind, however, it can be the thing that help puts their mind at ease.

In recent years, the effects of the physical environment on the healing process and wellbeing have proven to be increasingly relevant for patients and their families. The focus has changed from traditional and institutionally designed healthcare facilities to the actual mental well being of patients as an indicator of their health and recovery. There are many reviews and investigations on how “evidence-based health care design” can affect patients, families and health care staff. Everything from color pallets to lighting, and even imagery is taken into account when considering how it can be used to put patients and families at ease, and help in their healing process.

Designing for Healing

A visiting professor at the “Center for Healthcare Architecture” at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, Roger Ulrich, has been the thought leader on “evidenced based health care design” for over 30 years.  In 1984, Ulrich wrote an influential paper which significantly impacted how hospitals are designed today. In his paper, Ulrich compared two sets of patients; one had a view of trees from their recovery room, the other had a view of walls. Using clinical data he showed that the patient with tree views had a shorter hospital stay and fewer negative evaluations from nurses. This patient also took fewer moderate-to-strong pain killers and had slightly lower scores for post-surgery complications.

It’s amazing what the natural world can do for one’s outlook. But what do you do if you can’t bring the outdoors in?

Bring the Outdoors In

Integrating natural elements with your interior design doesn’t have to be expensive or get in the way of those caring for patients. They can be added in subtle ways such as door signs, decorative panels or murals. INNERFACE’s new Lucid and Impact product lines can provide just this sort of natural, customized touch. Using direct print technology, we bring full color images to signage, wayfinding and design elements. Choose from local natural scenes that alongside natural style lighting and calming interior design can promote health and peace of mind for patients and their families.

Whether there for a first check-up or lifesaving surgery, natural elements and calming imagery can reduce stress and contribute to patient healing and wellness.  

Introducing Lucid

Introducing Lucid. Using state of the art technology, we can direct print vibrant, full color graphics directly to almost any substrate. Through their visual impact, these full-color wayfinding and identification signs enhance the environment and the user experience. Our experiential graphic design team can integrate appropriate brand or other visual elements to assist with wayfinding, area identification and land marking.

A variety of available shapes and standard sizes makes development of a complete sign family quick and easy. All Lucid signage can incorporate ADA raised characters/Braille along with an insert to ease maintenance and reduce costs of message changes.

Lucid – bringing your wayfinding to life