Parking and facility professionals from hospitals and medical centers across the country came together recently to share their experiences and insights on maintaining efficient operations and serving patients, staff, and visitors. Steve Gorski, DESIGNA US CEO moderated this “Shoptalk” discussion on Hospital, Healthcare, and Medical Center Operations during the 2022 IPMI International Parking & Mobility Conference in New Orleans.
A primary focus for these hospitals is the patient experience, including the patient and visitor journey through the hospital. Parking has a critical impact on that experience, so it must be easy and pain-free. Guidance, validations, online pre-booking, and apps were four important elements of this optimized experience, and nearly every hospital in attendance offered one or more of these services.
Staff and physician parking, separate from visitor and patient parking, were also discussed. Easy to use, self-service, and online parking permits were discussed for staff, doctors, and other monthly parkers, and the systems currently offered vary from hospital to hospital. Hospitals located in urban settings discussed capacity limitations and price complaints, especially for staff permits. Some interesting ideas were discussed such as paying for staff public transportation passes and incentivizing staff to park elsewhere and then shuttle to the hospital.
Among the core challenges discussed were inventory and capacity management, system integration, and keeping up with emerging technology. Many of the continuing challenges have been handled under extreme duress brought by the pandemic and ever-evolving safety and wellness practices.
Capacity management is an issue many of the hospitals in the group are dealing with. Some are challenged with connecting medical needs with parking space availability. Overlapping staff shifts require extra parking spaces that have often not been figured into capacity planning. Plus, nearly all of the participating hospitals have special handling or preferred reserved spaces for physician parking.
There was a lot of interest in the integration of the parking system and its permits, validations, prebooking, and payments, with the existing infrastructure system for the hospital. Steve Gorski shared success stories of hospitals that are fully integrated, and those that were not yet integrated discussed prioritizing this type of system integration. Some hospitals were having to work with two or three different systems.
Everyone in the roundtable discussion was interested in determining what new technology is emerging and asked Steve Gorski to discuss some of the trends and what is coming for parking in the near future. Items discussed included gateless and frictionless technology, e-charging challenges, valet parking, and more convenient validations.
DESIGNA USA is a subsidiary ofDESIGNA;Verkehrsleittechnik GmbH, Kiel, Germany. The company’s visionary standards have led to the development of innovative products and solutions for the parking management sector for more than 65 years.