Developing universal symbols for health care facilities

Health care terminology is complicated and often not intuitive. Use of technical health care language can pose barriers for patients in conversations with caregivers, understanding bills, or just finding their way around a health care facility. This can be frustrating for most Americans, but it is worse for people with low English literacy levels or those for whom English is a second language. The purpose of this project is to create a comprehensive set of standardized health care symbols with multiple potential applications. They will initially be tested as health care facility way-finding guides; other uses such as shorthand in electronic communications will also be explored. The deliverables for the first phase of this project include terminology selection, symbol design, pilot implementation, and evaluation. The project will be considered successful if the evaluation provides evidence that the selected symbols are meaningful and effective in improving navigation for patients of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Assuming Phase I success, subsequent phases would include installation of the symbols in a wider set of facilities and exploration of additional applications for the symbols.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $375,000.00

Awarded on: 3/22/2004

Time frame: 4/1/2004 - 9/30/2005

Grant Number: 49836


Tomas Rivera Policy Institute

Tomas Rivera Policy Institute
650 Childs Way, Lewis Hall, Suite 201A
Los Angeles, 90089-0626