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St. Joseph's Health Centre: Designing a Product to Fit Patient Needs

Jun 20, 2018

4 min read

By: Mappedin

Navigating healthcare spaces can be difficult, confusing, and time-consuming. Mappedin helps ensure that wayfinding is accurate and easy to manage as facilities change.


Healthcare institutions are in a constant state of flux: moving departments, expanding clinics, and renovations always underway. Despite these changes, the infrastructure is old and often there is a lack of landmarks or distinguishing features in the corridors. Navigating the space can be difficult, confusing, and time-consuming. Visitors rely on wayfinding elements like signs and maps to guide them through these large landscapes. Mappedin helps to ensure wayfinding is accurate and easy-to-manage as facilities change and grow.

The Customer

St. Joseph's Health Centre, also known as St. Joe's Toronto, is a community teaching hospital founded in 1921 by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The centre is home to one of the busiest emergency departments and birthing centres in Ontario, with more than 101,000 visits and 3,275 babies per year.

St. Joe's vision is to advance the health of the city's west end by being Canada's best community teaching health centre to over 1,000 students and medical trainees each year. The three strategic priorities of the centre are to create seamless transitions of care, deliver an exceptional experience, and shape care through teaching and education.

The Opportunity

St. Joe's, like many health care facilities, has a complex layout made up of multiple wings that face construction at various times. In their start-to-end journey, visitors are most at risk for getting lost when they've stepped through the front door and are looking for the registration desk at the proper department. Many wayfinding tools exist today, including static maps, signs, and directories, but all have been rated unsatisfactory by visitors - except volunteers. Patients and visitors to the hospital are often in a high-anxiety state and while volunteers can apply a hands-on approach to helping navigate the hospital, there are unfortunately not enough to keep up.

While Mappedin has created a best-in-class indoor mapping platform, the company recognizes that previously it was tailored to the retail environment which has very different needs then the healthcare industry. To adapt and optimize the product, Mappedin worked closely with St. Joe's on a co-designed product, beginning with a blank slate and asking, "what does the ideal product for healthcare look like?"

The Solution

Mappedin has created a Digital Directory and Web experience with software uniquely suited to the healthcare industry. Kiosks will be placed at the main points of entry in the hospitals and now, not only can visitors self-serve and thereby free up valuable volunteer time, but when volunteers do need to assist others, they are better equipped with a tool to do so.

What's different?

Users have less information: When patients arrive at the hospital, they typically have one of three pieces of information - the name of the doctor they're seeing, the department they need, or the procedure they are having. The new search functionality on the healthcare platform allows users to enter any of this information and be routed to the proper registration desk.

Small departments are hugely important: Unlike other properties, the size of department has no correlation to number of visitors. Therefore, the colouring of locations and size of text labels has been adapted for tiny - but important - locations on the map.

More visitors have decreased mobility: In the healthcare directory experience, accessibility mode is automatically on, providing accessible routes that utilize elevators and ramps over stairs.

Along with these features, all Dynamic Directories come equipped with:

  • Smart Search

  • 3D interactive map

  • Simple navigation

The Results

“Having the chance to partner with an organization like St Joseph’s Healthcare was an amazing opportunity for Mappedin to immerse ourselves in a new industry and have a deep understanding and empathy for their problems" says Marcus Doran, VP Product at Mappedin. "Through the co-design process and iterative testing with their staff and visitors, we have come up with a solution that uniquely addresses the navigation problems of the healthcare space.”

Wayfinding for healthcare provides value in the following ways:

  • One map everywhere: Consistent and accurate map data across multiple platforms - directories, web, and print

  • Easy to maintain: The Mappedin CMS allows for simple edits and rapid sync, the system centrally updates pathing, doctor names, and so on

  • Reduced frustration: Improving satisfaction for patients, visitors, volunteers, and staff

  • Social ROI: Offsetting insufficient volunteer numbers or free up volunteers for other high-value work

Looking Forward

Mappedin has only just begun... Stay tuned for feature announcements as this product grows and evolves.