EVANSTON, Ill. —- State-of-the-art technology has transformed key areas of Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City into a virtual iPad-like, touch-screen experience for patients and visitors.
As part of the hospital’s comprehensive, $330-million expansion program, Forcade Associates, an Evanston, Ill.-based design firm, combined pioneering technology with traditional interior and exterior wayfinding/signage elements to help patients and visitors learn about the facility and navigate through the 1.2-million-square-foot hospital.
“Over time, the hospital became lost in the urban landscape,” said Mark Levine, principal of Forcade Associates. “This innovative program establishes a new face and identity for the hospital while telling people both where they are and who they are a part of.”
The centerpiece of this innovative signage and wayfinding program is a 22 ½-foot wide by 12-foot tall history wall that provides a bigger-than-life view of the hospital, which originally opened in 1923. The wall incorporates hundreds of photographs and dozens of video clips taking viewers through nearly 124 years of history at the facility. The interactive screen measures 16-feet by 4-feet and is 19 million pixels wide.
Reaction to the unveiling of the massive expansion program, and the wayfinding component, has been very positive among the institution’s senior leadership and the public.
The history wall, located just off a newly established entrance of the hospital, has quickly become the focal point of the wayfinding and branding program. Three people can take part in the interactive experience at one time, as others look on.
“As the project unfolded and we were designing the campus-wide signage and wayfinding system for the project, it become obvious we had a clear opportunity to bring cutting-edge technology to the forefront of our wayfinding strategy,” Levine said.
When using the directional kiosks, guests are prompted for information and then given visual instructions on how to get from Point A to Point B within the hospital. The program includes crisp, clear visuals, audio connectivity and the ability to print detailed directions to any part of the hospital.
“We have created a digital stage for the presentation of information to enhance the patient and visitor experience,” Levine said.
The program also unveiled a state-of-the-art donor wall on the first floor of the hospital. This wall features digital display units in the center flanked by acrylic panels with donor names and a changing LED light palette.
The same technology used to create the history wall presented a unique opportunity for Saint Luke’s to tell the stories of the more than 500 people and institutions who have generously contributed to the growth and development of the hospital.
“Philanthropic contributions are essential to most healthcare institutions,” said Levine. “The donor wall tells the story of these generous donors and what their contributions have meant to donors and Saint Luke’s.”
As part of a more traditional wayfinding and signage program, Forcade also designed and installed a comprehensive interior and exterior signage program to help patients and visitors navigate the hospital campus. The program includes new identification, directional, and parking leading to the emergency entrance. The program included more than 150 exterior signage elements. Most notable are the new directional signs measuring 17-feet in height that stand like pillars of light and information throughout the site.
Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City houses the Mid America Heart Institute, the region’s only heart transplant center. When it opened in 1982, the Mid-America Heart Institute was the first heart hospital in the United States. Today it is a state-of-the-art center for treating cardiac patients. There are approximately 60 heart surgeons, cardiologists and anesthesiologists who practice at the facility.
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