August 26, 2005

Elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question — What are we doing to help patients and families navigate our growing, complex Medical Center?

Answer — Many of you may have heard for some time that a “way-finding” plan was in the works.

This comprehensive, $5.1 million plan was approved by the Medical Center board at the May meeting.

While temporary and permanent elements are already in place in and around the South Garage, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and the new Medical Center East-South Tower, installation throughout the Medical Center will begin in a big way from December through May, with the external components which are the first campus-wide step.

Way-finding is much more than simply putting up new or more signs.

It's an integrated system of signs, building design, visual clues and information systems that work together to guide an individual to their desired destination in the Medical Center.

It is a massive undertaking, and one challenge we faced was making sure funds were available to install the system in “chunks” because so many of the elements work together and build upon each other.

As the system is put into place, you'll see a notable improvement in helping our patients and visitors get around our complicated campus.

However, please consider this system as a tool to use in helping our patients and visitors find their way. No amount of signage will substitute for the human touch and providing caring assistance when asked.

Look for a more detailed story about the way-finding plan to be published soon in the VUMC Reporter.

— Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs