Condition of Parking Facilities Plays Major Role in Impression of Hospital
By Renee Cleary
People over age 65 judge hospitals by the condition and ease-of-use of their parking facilities, a recent study reports. Seniors who participated in the survey, conducted by Parking BOXX, said that parking influences their first impression of a healthcare facility, second only to the condition of its lobby.
Results of the study, “Seniors & Hospital Parking Systems Usability,” reveal that ease-of-use, including large text, payment method groupings and graphical instructions, is a top priority. It also found that seniors prefer paying for parking by credit/debit card as opposed to cash; that they would rather use an automated payment kiosk than wait in line to pay an attendant; and that they prefer that their credit card be retrievable at all times.
These findings are significant, the company says, because the participants were well-educated, with medium to high income — the most influential segment of the “Baby Boomer” demographic. The study results offer important insights into their opinions and, if adopted by hospitals, could create one more differentiator for these well-informed healthcare shoppers.
Discovering that seniors believe the patient experience extends into the parking [facility] is a valuable insight, Administrators constantly seek out unknowns in the patient satisfaction paradigm. This study uncovers an important influencer in that regard, namely parking, and offers insights into successfully meeting patient expectations in that area.
The research was designed to better understand how seniors perceive and use parking systems at healthcare facilities and the challenges they experience when interacting with technology, the company says, noting that the senior demographic will become the largest percentage of the general and patient population over the next 30 years.
Important findings include:
1. First impressions count.
97% of surveyed seniors felt that run-down or rusted parking equipment creates a negative impression.
“Parking” ranked second behind “lobby” and before “building exterior” and “grounds” as factors impacting first impression of a hospital.
2. Usability and functional design.
The need to identify where on the kiosk each action should be taken and how to perform those actions are important.
81% preferred a graphical instruction with a hand showing how to insert a bill; 14% prefer an image of a bill; and 5% preferred the text “BILLS” with an arrow.
Senior participants reported that a large, well-organized LCD is “very helpful” when using a parking payment kiosk for the first time.
Seniors indicated that “blue” was the most recognizable color for a parking payment kiosk.
3. Credit/debit card is the preferred method of payment.
63% prefer to pay by credit/debit card, and 69% of those prefer to use a kiosk to do so.
37% prefer to pay by cash, and 83% of those prefer to pay
An overwhelming majority, 99%, said they do not want their credit card ingested into the machine during payment.
4. Evenly split on ease-of-use of parking payment kiosks.
54% find it “easy” or “somewhat easy” to pay at a kiosk.
46% find it “confusing” or “somewhat confusing” to do so.
5. Parking payment needs to be in a convenient location.
30% are frustrated by how far they have to walk to pay for parking.
6. Hospital kiosk branding provides trust.
30% feel “generally secure” or “very secure” that if parking kiosks have the hospital logo, the hospital will help to resolve any parking payment issues.
Statistics show the increasing revenue impact that seniors will have as healthcare consumers.
In the U.S., the senior demographic:
1. Is expected to increase by 53% by 2050.
2. Responsible for 298 million ambulatory care visits annually in the U.S..
3. 85% of seniors aged 65+ have a valid driver’s license.
In Canada, the senior demographic:
1. Is expected to increase by 47% by 2036.
2. Comprises 60% of all emergency discharges.
3. Indicates that 75% of seniors aged 65+ have a valid driver’s license.
The qualitative survey was conducted online; the subsequent quantitative study was conducted in-person. The study utilized live observations and interviews with seniors as they interacted with three different types of parking kiosks.
The seniors were asked to use the kiosks to enter and exit the parking facility, as well as to pay for parking by cash or credit/debit card.
The quantitative portion of the study was designed to gauge the seniors’ interaction with the parking kiosks and to solicit feedback about their prior interactions with parking systems.
Renee Cleary is CTO of Parking Boxx. She can be reached at
email@example.com. The corporation, which manufactures a full-line of parking equipment and systems, has more than 50 years of industry experience, 60-plus dealers in North America, and parking sites in operation from Los Angeles to Newfoundland, Canada.