New team will help patients and visitors with way finding

If you’re a WVU Healthcare employee, you have most likely walked through Ruby Memorial Hospital and encountered a patient or visitor with “the look” – that confused, unsure stare at a sign or that slow gait in a corridor, pausing to look at every doorway.

Because we’re friendly people here in West Virginia, we help them. We assure them they’ve almost reached their destination. We point them in the right direction. We sometimes escort them to their location.

Friendliness and helpfulness are about to jump to a new level, though. Starting Wednesday, July 1, a new team, aptly called the Navigators, will be stationed in the Ruby lobby at the main entrance of the building.

The Navigators will not only verbally help patients and visitors with way finding, but they will also escort them – to registration, lab, radiology, MRI, ICU and the cafeteria, for example. These are just some of the most popular destinations on campus, but the Navigators will take patients and visitors wherever they need to go.

“We want our patients to see a friendly and welcoming face as soon as they walk into our medical center,” said WVUH President and CEO Albert Wright. “Those entering won’t have to ask for help. The Navigators will offer that personal touch, decreasing patients’ fear, anxiety and confusion as they are guided to their destination.”

Dressed in khaki pants, blue blazers and gold ties, the Navigators will be available from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Saturday.

The idea for the Navigators came from the Institute for Patient Experience, led by Chief Experience Officer Todd Crocco, M.D., and its Culture Council. The Navigators program is an extension of the Security Department’s Concierge service, which has been in place for many years. Navigators have added responsibilities and will provide extra support.

“We realize that patients and visitors sometimes find it challenging to find their way around our campus,” Dr. Crocco said. “With the new lobby and tower, the need to have a team dedicated to way finding only grew. We want the overall experience to match the high quality healthcare patients receive when they visit our facilities.”

Because the Navigators will be at the front door, everyone entering will seem like fair game for friendliness and helpfulness. To help Navigators know who needs their services, employees should wear the ID badges as they enter the building.