Trying to find a patient room or a certain hospital department, particularly in facilities with many buildings, can be frustrating. So some of the state’s top health systems have turned to GPS technology to help patients and family members navigate their way through large hospitals.
MediNav will be integrated with Epic Systems Corp.’s MyChart software within the HMH Well mobile app. That functionality will also enable users to access lab results, appointment dates, medications and immunization history.
The health system will roll out the technology at Jersey Shore Medical Center next month and eventually at all of the hospitals in the HMH network.
Kunle Modupe, vice president of Hospitality Services at Hackensack Meridian Health, said the decision to adopt GPS technology was based on feedback from patients and research that revealed that navigating through a hospital maze was challenging.
“All the comments and complaints from patients about the difficulties navigating the building have been reduced since we implemented the GPS technology,” Modupe said.
‘You can get lost pretty quickly’
The way Mark Green, CEO and co-founder of Connexient explains it, the company has created a navigation technology similar to how you would use to Google directions from your car except this can be used inside a large complex or building like a hospital.
“Think of it like indoor GPS for patients,” said Green.
Users download the app to their smartphone. When they enter the hospital building they get a blue dot on an indoor map that gives them turn-by-turn, step-by-step directions to a room, cardiology or radiology departments or anywhere else they want to go in the hospital.
“You can get lost pretty quickly inside a large hospital. It’s all about trying to improve the patient experience, reduce the levels of stress and anxiety whether you’re a patient or a family member going to visit a patient.” said Green.
In addition to indoor mapping, a feature called parking planner helps users with another challenge — figuring out what to do with their cars. The app recommends the best parking location based on the user’s indoor destination and then provides directions and navigation to help them get to that exact garage or lot.
“When they arrive in the parking garage they get the blue dot navigation from the moment they get out of their car in the parking garage and it navigates them to their appointment,” said Green. A find-my-car feature saves the parking spot inside the app and when they’re done, provides the blue dot turn-by-turn navigation back to the car.
Because not everyone has a smart phone with web access, a web version of the app can integrate the map and with the website of the hospital. End users can see the map and then look at what their route is going to look like and send it to their phone as a text message.
They can also access MediNav via a touch screen kiosk inside the hospital.
Green said that hospitals license the technology and the pricing is based on the size of the facility.
Valerie Simon, chief marketing officer, vice president, marketing, communications and public relations at Atlantic Health System, agrees that navigating a large medical center can be confusing and stressful.
Simon said that to help patients and their family members know exactly where they’re going and travel to their intended destination in a manner that is both faster and more convenient, Atlantic Health System launched an indoor GPS app from Connexient at Overlook Medical Center in Summit and subsequently at Morristown Medical Center.
The functionality, noted Simon, has been integrated into the new Atlantic Anywhere app that is downloadable from the Apple App Store and Google.
“Whether we are leveraging data to improve patient outcomes, providing digital self-service tools for managing their health, or helping visitors navigate the hallways of our large medical centers, technology has become an important component of the care team,” said Simon.
Beyond digital navigation, Simon said that Atlantic Anywhere offers additional functionality such as convenient search and appointment capabilities through find-a-provider service and access to Atlantic Health System’s MyChart patient portal, so consumers can easily play a more active role in their healthcare, communicating with physicians, refilling medications, viewing lab results and much more.