Traverse City, MI

Munson Healthcare

Our relationship with our local healthcare provider is more than just professional: since we’re customers as well as consultants, we’re personally invested in the patient experience and their long-term success.

From developing the initial wayfinding signage program in 1992, a complete system rebrand in 1999, a wayfinding system overhaul in 2006 and a research-based upgrade in 2014, we’ve designed every aspect of how Munson communicates to their patients, visitors and staff.

Munson Medical Center has been the laboratory within which our concepts have been proven. Considerate of their budgets and internal resources, we’ve developed effective verbal and visual tools for wayfinding that have resulted in simplified direction giving, improved internal processes, elevated patient satisfaction scores and cost savings for sign system maintenance.

  • We engaged in extensive internal research to test the logic and design of the wayfinding tools with staff, patients and visitors. 
  • The wayfinding logic identifies destinations by their location within “areas,” anchored by elevator cores. These are landmarks that will not change as the hospital grows.
  • Elevators are identified using themed graphic murals that are visible from a distance, helping visitors identify and remember the elevator they’ve been directed to use.
  • A wayfinding “cheat sheet” explains the wayfinding logic, including room numbering, lettered areas and rules for direction giving. This is used to educate staff and serves as a quick and easy reference.
  • Maps for primary destinations are available, both online and printed at information desks. These provide detailed directions for visitors, and allow staff to write notes that customize the information for each patient.

Once implemented, new tools also brought significant cultural changes. A wayfinding system relies on internal education, since staff are responsible for providing direction to patients/visitors and using the wayfinding logic every day. All patient-facing staff have been taught to effectively direct visitors, saving valuable time and allowing them to focus on caregiving.

Everyone we talk to appreciates the changes we've made to wayfinding. They told us it allows them to provide distinct landmarks to help our visitors navigate. All volunteers have noticed a reduction in lost visitors in the hospital!

- Munson Medical Center COO