All large institutional buildings have challenges with wayfinding due to their increasing size. Today, only a very limited number of building complexes such as university or hospital campuses have easily accessible digital indoor maps and wayfinding. Recent hospital studies have shown that 30% of the problem behind “missed appointments” is related to patients being late because of issues with wayfinding, up to €350mill/year. The same challenge can be found in large public buildings and universities. It is expected that the productivity loss is as high as €540,000/year for a large campus or a mid-sized university due time wasted on wayfinding.
At St. Olav’s University Hospital SmartMap helped reduce the missed appointments by over 30 % through an integration with the hospital’s appointment system. The reduction of missed appointments contributed to €1.5 million in yearly savings as well as shorter patient queues.
Wayfinding is not just an issue of geography and the size of buildings and complexes. Wayfinding supports users and contributes to feelings of ease within an environment, which are crucial in many aspects – both in terms of patient treatments/recovery but also in terms of employee satisfaction, student education and many other factors. Stress and anxiety can be caused by inadequate information, or if already present, this emotive state can cause a lack of focus and the misreading of wayfinding cues. Further, when poor wayfinding occurs, it can reflect negatively on the overall experience of an organisation.
In a hospital, the total cost of wayfinding was found to be €376 ($448) per bed and is to a large degree hidden and related to direction giving by others than hospital staff. This means that a 737-bed hospital such as St Olav’s hospital in Trondheim has a yearly cost adjusted by the consumer price index of just above €503,000 ($600,000) for wayfinding. This directly impacts the bottom line and increases administrative and operative costs of all these complex institutions – which are huge issues across Europe and the strained healthcare and educational systems (as mentioned, examples of strains can be seen through the missed appointments that cost €1 billion/year in UK alone and productivity losses that are as high as €540,000/year for a large office campus or a mid-sized university due to time wasted on wayfinding.
Our overall objectives: