Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Healing for hospital signs that don't work

Date:
May 17, 2010
Source:
University of Cincinnati
Summary:
A sign redesign project is seeking to produce healthier hospital signage that's easy to follow no matter your language or reading level.

Symbol to represent mental health services, originally created by UC student Paige Farwick.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Cincinnati

Hospitals are large, complex institutions housing innumerable units, sections and visitor destinations. And in the United States alone, diversity is increasing within most locales, making it difficult to comply with federal requirements for text signs in patients' languages. In addition, about half of all Americans -- approximately 90 million -- cannot read well enough to navigate a hospital's written signs.

These challenges have led to a new project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, called "Signs that Work."

It includes 28 signage symbols made by professional designers in 2006 and the new addition of 22 symbols by student designers from four universities.

Fifteen of those 22 new student designs were created by students at the University of Cincinnati's internationally ranked School of Design, part of UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). All the student designs were recently refined by international symbols expert and designer Mies Hora and are now being integrated into a system totaling 50 symbols.

Oscar Fernαndez , UC associate professor of design and leader of the UC portion of the project, will present on "Signs that Work"

June 2 at the annual national conference of the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) in Washington, D.C.

Overseeing the project in its entirety is Yolanda Partida, director of Hablamos Juntos (We Speak Together), based at UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education & Research.

The project was developed in five phases:

  • Professional designers from the SEGD developed a core set of symbols to use on hospital signage anywhere. That resulted in a base set of 28 signage symbols currently in use at national test sites.
  • Student designers expanded the system with additional symbols. (This occurred in early 2009.)
  • The students' designs were tested with English and non-English speakers in three Midwestern cities. Ultimately, 22 student-designed symbols tested well enough to be integrated into the new signage system. (Testing took place in late 2009.)
  • The students' designs were refined in order to standardize them into the larger symbol system. (Spring 2010)
  • These students' designs will be integrated into the existing signage system over the summer of 2010 and tested at four national hospital sites beginning in August 2010.

Project leader Partida explained, "It's our plan that other hospitals will learn about the new symbols via the four test sites. Hospitals belong to a host of specialty and general associations, and these associations provide recognition for innovation, community engagement and health literacy projects."

She added, "The entire system of new health-care signage with symbols will be made available to any hospital or health-care setting wanting to implement them."

The 22 additional health signage symbols created by students will be integrated into the base system already being tested at

  • Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, Ga., the largest hospital in the state
  • International Community Health Services, Seattle, Wash.
  • The Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Providence, R.I.

George Smith, Grady architectural project manager, welcomes the new addition of symbols to the signage at Grady. He explained, "In using the original set of 28 SEGD symbols, we found some gaps -- areas we'd like to direct people to that we didn't have a symbol for. Burn unit would be one example of that. "

Overall, he said, signage symbols are the way of the future as part of a larger wayfinding approach that allows visitors and patients to have a sense of autonomy and control upon entering a health center.

Smith added, "We've identified 26 language groups that use our facility, which spans 22 stories and 12 wings. If we had to use text to communicate on our signs, we'd have run out of wall space long ago. In the long run, the use of signage symbols will save us money in terms of implementation and updates."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cincinnati. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cincinnati. "Healing for hospital signs that don't work." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517111919.htm>.
University of Cincinnati. (2010, May 17). Healing for hospital signs that don't work. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517111919.htm
University of Cincinnati. "Healing for hospital signs that don't work." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517111919.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) — New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) — Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins