From welcoming the community and reassuring nervous patients and their families to helping alleviate flow issues and playing a key role in emergency readiness, a hospital wayfinding system covers a broad array of important functions.

Not surprisingly, such a complicated mission isn't always easy to carry out, even when a traditional signage-based system is augmented with high-tech elements such as information kiosks and handheld devices. This is especially true in the ever-changing world of health care, where hospitals are continually building new additions, updating technologies and departments, and dealing with community needs that are in a permanent state of flux.

However, any hospital can be made simple to navigate, according to a new book from the American Hospital Association-Health Forum's AHA Press called Wayfinding for Health Care.

Written by Randy Cooper, SEGD, owner and president of Cooper Signage & Graphics, Atlanta, the book states that, while each hospital is unique, its wayfinding challenges fit common, broad categories that are fixable.

Given the dearth of information on health care wayfinding, the book will likely find a home on the shelves of hospital architects, interior designers, facilities managers and administrators. To learn more about it, log on to and check out "What's New!"

As health care continues to evolve, so too does its wayfinding requirements.