Better questions lead to better answers.

Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) north entrance.

Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) north entrance.

ORMC, the flagship facility for Orlando Health, expressed a very specific wayfinding problem: “people are having trouble finding their way from the C-Deck to Emergency.” And sure enough, they were right. But in order to effectively SOLVE this problem, Connect_CX reframed the statement as a question: “How do people get lost at ORMC?” This gave us a much broader platform to explore the systems that support wayfinding, rather than solely attempting to fix one route.

It’s just like personal health: taking blood pressure medication does very little to resolve the problem if the behaviors that underlie the condition go unchanged.

“Do you want to get to Emergency through the hospital, or go the easy way?”

—Janice, volunteer and former Disney employee

We assembled groups from across the campus and the system, ultimately including people from the C-suite to volunteers, those with decades of experience to newly-minted staffers. Clerical, clinical, coffee counter, you name it: we solicited their feedback and opinions. Most importantly, we were introduced to patients who shared their honest experiences: what didn’t they understand? What did they need to know? And what did they see that needed to change?

Orlando isn’t like other places. As home to “The Happiest Place on Earth,” the people of Orlando know customer experience: when it’s done right, and when it isn’t. And many of the people we’d interviewed were Disney alumni. In their opinion, the experience of navigating ORMC was, to say it kindly, in need of improvement. They wanted to build and support an experience that rivaled Mickey and Minnie’s.

“Many patients have experienced Disney or are in the industry and fully expect this level of excellence. They have a keen eye.”

— ORMC Core Team member

The result was a comprehensive needs assessment, along with a detailed study of the wayfinding challenge they’d originally proposed. By building both, we worked with ORMC to define the problems more broadly, while at the same time being laser-focused on ways to effectively solve those problems.

Story is the basis of human connection.
Wayfinding, at its heart, is storytelling.

We used the stories we’d collected from our diverse audiences to inform a matrix that describes the complexity of the experience, both from those who deliver it and those asked to navigate it. Here, we depict the system that supports the entire journey, rather than only the original wayfinding problem. Our study covered four primary destinations on the ORMC campus, those most heavily visited by the public.


ORMC Storytelling Matrix


In order to tell the correct story, we needed first to understand the context of the message being shared: who shares it, using which tool, at what point in the process? We laid these across pathways that ORMC patients navigate, in order to see where they intersect with the messages. For each of these tools, we developed a corresponding section in the Needs Assessment (the blue circles).

“Most of our staff give visitors a fish, rather than teaching them how to fish.”

— ORMC Patient Experience

The document outlines recommendations related to:

  • Consistent terminology, vetted and accessible by everyone that’s asked to communicate on behalf of ORMC;

  • Street-level infrastructure changes designed to increase pedestrian safety, clarify wayfinding and reduce traffic bottlenecks;

  • Design revisions to the C-Deck, the primary patient parking area, including re-striping and enhancing elevator cores;

  • Prototyping and testing additions to the existing signage standard to better support exterior and interior wayfinding;

  • Revising and consolidating existing campus mapping for clarity, consistency;

  • Scripting for patient schedulers, volunteers, security: anyone who would provide written or verbal directions;

  • Building and supporting an ORMC Mobile App infrastructure;

  • Revisions to new staff onboarding experience, including wayfinding training;

  • Revising internal communications (departments, content, tools) to better support the findings in the Assessment, and

  • Altering campus architecture to support intuitive wayfinding.

Recommended consideration for ORMC Parking Garage landmarking

Recommended consideration for ORMC Parking Garage landmarking


Making it real

Based on the priorities expressed to us in our research phase, we built a list of lower cost, higher value projects with which to begin exploring these solutions. We then created a Strategic Plan for implementation in the form of a proposal, designed to meet four objectives:

  • Setting expectations among all staff for the process and goals;

  • Iterative implementation of Needs Assessment recommendations;

  • Instilling and ensuring accountability via regular check points: on-site meetings every two months, and regular check-ins via video conference; and

  • Developing an ongoing communication and feedback cadence as we launch each recommended initiative.

ORMC has an amazing opportunity: to create an interconnected system of communications that empowers each person within your culture to share a story with your visitors. Depending on the person, depending on the need, that story will change. But the basic elements – the single thread that runs through it – will supply your visitors with the landmarks that they’ll use to successfully navigate their healthcare experience.

— ORMC Needs Assessment

The implementation plan also includes four phases:

  1. Low-hanging fruit: testing initial theories and showing how campus changes will occur, then communicating this to staff and patients;

  2. Expanding the reach: taking what we learn and broadening it across our recommendations;

  3. Establishing the system: finalizing standards that build a resilient system of wayfinding supports; and

  4. Review and assessment: what have we learned? How do we adapt as we move forward?

We are currently in the process of final review before implementing this plan. This is how, working together, we make a big place small for ORMC staff, visitors and the communities they support.

“Thank you … for helping us see ourselves differently.”

— Carlos Corrasco, ORMC COO