Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital turns on multilingual wayfinding (yay!)

May 18, 2010 by Dave Haynes

For two or three years now I have been blabbering on with people about the opportunity hospitals present to use screens in a meaningful way, and it finally looks like someone is doing it.

There are likely others, but this is the first install I know of that uses interactive screens in hospital lobbies to deal with the massive language challenges faced by big urban hospitals. People who have English as a second language walk into a hospital, looking for directions to a clinic or wing, and all they see are signs in English and maybe a second dominant language. They’re stumped.

I met with a Toronto hospital’s executive team many months ago to talk about their needs and asked them about language barriers. They said they had people using more than 30 different languages coming in looking for assistance, and were employing additional staff as well as using a team of translator volunteers to deal with the challenge, at considerable cost. It was a huge issue for them.

“What if you had interactive stations that provided directions and answers in multiple languages?” I asked.

They said interesting, and maybe in Phase 2, but what they really wanted to do was get some screens to promote the hospital in the waiting rooms. I resisted jumping over the table to slap some sense into the guy running the meeting, and  that was the end of that.

Happily, I read in DailyDOOH this morning that another Toronto facility, The Hospital for Sick Children, is working with NCR Corporation and Toronto-based Cycom Canada Corp. to put NCR Wayfinding kiosks in the entrance lobbies, with interactive touchscreens for as many as 10 languages.

Toronto is an incredibly multicultural city and, really, 10 is not enough. But it’s a great start.

Part of the NCR Partner Programme, Cycom is accredited as an advanced partner who is trained and certified to support NCR Canada in selling, installing, integrating and maintaining NCR Healthcare Solutions, including NCR Wayfinding and NCR MediKiosk self-service patient registration solutions. Cycom will also act as NCR’s first line of response for any service requests and will engage NCR to resolve any issues.

“NCR is expanding our reach to deliver the benefits of patient self-service to Canadian healthcare providers,”says Luc Villeneuve, president, NCR Canada. “In the U.S. we have a strong track record of working with healthcare providers to help improve the patient experience and drive efficiencies. We want to replicate that success with the recruitment of proven partners like Cycom who also understand the unique challenges of our healthcare industry.”

“At Cycom, our team is working with the medical community to re-think the physical workspace to develop a truly “Digital Hospital’, optimizing process, patient flow and technology placement,” says Al Leela, president and CEO, Cycom Canada.

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