Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sign congestion

Sometimes, with "new eyes," you see things you walk by every day. As I went to visit a sick friend yesterday, not as the hospital CEO but just a visitor, here was the scene I found at the elevator in one of our main lobbies.

Each one of these signs was likely added for good reason. But, in combination, they are problematic -- too cluttered.

Also, they are not culturally competent. The blue sign on the left has several languages. None of the others do.

Perhaps it is time for a Lean rapid improvement event about our signs.


Lily said...

From Facebook:

I've noticed it, too. The purpose of these signs is to be helpful, not confusing. In my confusion I find myself asking the nearest official looking person and not looking at the signs at all.

Alison said...

From Facebook:

Can this process include way finding too? I am fortunate to receive great care at BIDMC. However, I often see other patients and visitors trying to decipher sings and maps in order to divine where they want to go. I believe a singage improvement with enforced standards and better way finding throughout the campus will benefit every one at BIDMC.

Eighthman said...

From Universal Hub:

Reminds me of when I went to the Somerville DPW offices recently. Once inside, there's a directory of offices (the white plastic letters that get pushed into a ribbed backing) that looks like it hasn't been updated since the '50s. Scattered on the walls are home-made signs indicating where to go for services that people off the street might actually come in there for (like I was). Took a while to find where I needed to go.

Anonymous said...

I laugh to think that our signage committee's final recommendation was to hire consultants to evaluate our needs. That was the product of nearly 3 years of "work" by a large group of administrators.

I'm currently in a lean leader role and we have yet to hold an event where there wasn't a distinct need for better signage. We made several, simple suggestions... which were noted in the minutes of the next signage committee, I'm sure.

I guess that is what happens when you don't fully engage your organization in these improvement methods.

3 observers said...

From Facebook:

Martha: In other hospitals I've found the colored lines on the floor and/or walls to be very useful. Yes, they require more maintenance, but they are very useful, especially in making transitions from building to building.

Doreen: The East campus is especially challenging . Every time I have to go there I feel as if I should be dropping bread crumbs to find my way back. (I work on the West).

Nicole: I agree. I am constantly seeing/helping people on the East campus who are looking around aimlessly and always confused.

e-Patient Dave said...

Not to put too fine a point on it, but ... this is a surprise? It's been really obvious for a long time - I just figured y'all had more important fish to fry.

And, I suppose it's also true that there's nothing like looking at things with new eyes. And yeah, signage does look different when you're on a mission and you care how easy it is to get there.

And that's one reason even a patient/family advisory council needs new blood, constantly.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the signage changes, might you consider simplifying the names of the floors/buildings on the East Campus? I have worked here for 3 years and still have to pull out a map to plan how to get to an unfamiliar area. I know the names all honor someone, but couldn't they be hyphenated with a unified name, so people would at least know what building they are in? I am still confused when the names change from Feldberg to Reisman depending on what floor you are on in the building.