The Cost of Healthcare: EGD Edition

Today, the House Democrats unveiled their Healthcare Bill. Did you know as an environmental graphic designer you can directly impact the cost of healthcare for thousands? You might be asking yourself “How?”.

*More After the Jump*

Imagine you are a small rural healthcare provider building a new flagship hospital. This greenfield hospital will replace two other aging hospitals in the area. The community is excited about gaining a new and improved facility that will bring a much needed medical technology to their area.

You have just been selected to program and design the hospitals wayfinding signage and other graphics. You begin working and attend planning meetings, the architecture is great and the project is becoming more interesting every minute.

The provider lets you know that he has a limited budget for the whole project to work with, but to your surprise the signage has a pretty healthy line item.

Do you:

A – Take advantage of the budget trying to spend every penny?

or

B – Do you work to keep costs down?

Too many times I have heard horror stories of designers taking the “A” approach. These designers lean on the use of art glasses, resin materials, and solid aluminum as a display of their design skills. (I kid you not, I have seen all three applied to one typical room sign. It had a curved metal piece, an acrylic with photopolymer face, and a large 3/4″ thick piece of artglass on the back.) Do not get me wrong, I like these materials, I use them when I feel it is appropriate, but the cost of these materials can raise prices beyond $200, $300, even $400 dollars per sign. You read that right – PER SIGN. Times that by 2500 signs in a typical facility and now you have sky rocketed costs… but its “below budget”! Who cares!? Right? Right….?

The impact of signage is not limited to the upfront cost. Facility managers will be ordering signs regularly to keep with requested nomenclature changes, damaged signs, and relocations for years to come.

Utilizing materials that dissimilar can cause attachment issues and contribute to fabrication failure at no fault to the fabricator. Furthermore, the weight of the sign might illicit the use of studded attachment instead of just silicone so replacing them now involves more.

Remember these signs are each made one by one. When a sign is ordered by facility manager a replacement will be built at most likely a higher cost. These costs are directly forwarded to both patients and insurance companies as operating expenses.

Sure signage maybe a small portion of that yearly budget and cost, but be the change you want to see. We might not all agree about how to reduce costs of healthcare, but let us, the EGD community, be inspired by responsible cost effective solutions.

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