Navigating hospitals is very confusing for patients. Even many mid-sized medical clinics are rather complicated to find one’s way around.
One particular style of clinic layout is known as ‘racetrack’. Offices are arranged around a ‘racetrack loop’. Some architects love the design, and claim it is ‘very easy for patients to navigate’ because (in theory) they can’t get lost, and will eventually find their way out of the loop.
Personally I really dislike racetrack clinic design for a number of reasons. One reason is I think the layout is very unintuitive for a patient to know how to navigate it. When you look left and right outside of the clinic door, it looks kind of similar and it is never entirely clear the fastest way out of the loop.
Below, we see some examples of how a clinic overcame a large complex racetrack layout, by installing these very clever exit arrows on the floor.
I was in this clinic both before and after the arrows. They definitely work. It was a very effective solution. Far better than putting signs and arrows on the wall or ceiling.
Notice how nice the arrows are. They clearly join from each office door into the main line, and then the main lines even merging well together.
There is also a gap in the line helping make it obvious which way is fastest to exit from that point in the clinic.