Navigating the newly expanded 1.2 million-square-foot Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City (Mo.) could be a daunting task for patients and visitors, but the installation of seven digital wayfinding kiosks helps take the anxiety out of finding their destinations.

The kiosks give guests three options to find their destination: typing it on a touch screen if they know where to go, selecting from a list of common locations or calling a live operator if they still need help or only have a patient's name.

A 3-D map appears on the screen showing where guests are located and traces a path to their destination. Users can print out turn-by-turn directions much like MapQuest, says Mark Levine, principal of graphics design firm, Forcade Associates, Evanston, Ill. Levine says the technology for the kiosks is straightforward.

"However, it's the custom software that pulls the pieces together that was one of the more challenging parts," he explains.

Utilizing what Levine calls "good old-fashioned footwork," Forcade surveyed hundreds of visitors to establish patterns of the most common destinations in Saint Luke's. "These discoveries were the backbone of the final solution," he says.

The design also included the input of personnel involved in the expansion, including contractors, architects, electricians, designers and others, he says.

Adjustments were made to the system until the results were satisfactory. The kiosks are part of other digital installations that include a history wall, donor wall and digital bulletin boards.

It's all part of the design process, says Levine.