Importance of hospital wayfinding in 2022
Last update 06 OCT 2022
Img Source - Jessica Flores
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has shown that not all medical institutions were ready for mass flows of people. The main problem is that searching for the necessary room or doctor’s office in hospitals can cause anxiety, making a person ask the medical staff who are already overwhelmed with work. Thus, in 2022, it is essential to organize a quick search for objects and convenient indoor navigation for hospitals, which will significantly facilitate the work of employees and increase visitors’ loyalty.
Importance of hospital wayfinding
Hospitals are crowded places with daily flows of high intensity. If a medical institution is large enough and consists of many campuses, departments, and buildings, the movement around the territory can be complicated, causing difficulties in searching for the necessary objects. Navigation solutions for healthcare can solve these problems. Using these technologies, patients and visitors can easily navigate in space and avoid stressful situations.
The implementation of navigation into the infrastructure of medical institutions ensures the following benefits:
- It allows for increasing the medical staff’s efficiency due to reducing their workload. Hospital visitors receive the possibility to get to their destination without resorting to the help of outsiders. It leads to minimizing the unnecessary interaction between the staff and visitors, saves medical staff’s time, and releases it for solving more important daily tasks. Thanks to wayfinding, patients can keep calm and can avoid stressful situations for doctors and nurses so that they can perform their work more productively.
- It allows visitors to search for the required object or room quickly and easily. The properly organized indoor-outdoor navigation system for hospitals is intuitive for most people, so it speeds up the process of finding certain objects and helps visitors to save time. Patients can better navigate in large hospital spaces and always know how to get to the necessary place fast.
- It allows hospitals to improve themselves and increase visitors’/ patients’ loyalty (smart hospitals). Using wayfinding systems positions a hospital as a modern and technologically advanced institution. Thanks to this technology, visitors can get to know the place better to facilitate their next visits. The continuous improvement of the clinic makes it more attractive to patients, increases their loyalty, and stimulates them to come to this place again and again.
Types of wayfinding for healthcare
Wayfinding inside hospitals can be arranged in several ways depending on the size of a medical institution. The most common examples of wayfinding are digital signs, information booths, visual navigation, and a wayfinding app for hospitals.
Physical and digital signs are crucial for hospital performance. They can be used both for displaying information about the place and for simplifying the search for various objects. Signs with arrows pointing the way to the points of interest can be a good example of digital signs. Many clinics use signs of different colors to distinguish different departments. These solutions are intuitive for visitors and ensure better identification of routes.
Booths have a two-fold benefit for patients. On the one side, they offer maps for navigating around a hospital; on the other hand, they give detailed information about an institution. Such places can be found practically in any large clinic. They can be digital or usual and help search forwards, procedure rooms, doctors’ offices, and even individual employees.
Visual navigation is understood as special tips that help quickly get to the destination. Convenient search is ensured by structured ways that include the original use of the color palette, various symbols, or backlight. If it is necessary to improve the perception of visual navigation, symbols and colors can be simply updated making routes more understandable for visitors.
Indoor navigation in mobile apps
In recent years, modern forms of indoor navigation, organized with the help of mobile apps, have acquired more popularity. To locate the necessary object, a visitor needs a smartphone with the pre-installed mobile application. The system can provide digital maps and create the shortest route which will help to get easily and quickly to places of interest. Thanks to this solution, a visitor can find any objects inside or outside a hospital without disappointment or stress from losing valuable time.
Learn more about the professional Real-Time Indoor Navigation solutions for mobile appsDISCOVER INDOOR NAVIGATION
Indoor navigation for hospitals: What’s this?
More and more medical institutions are applying indoor navigation. Mobile technologies work more efficiently in comparison with signs or information booths and allow increasing patient satisfaction with visiting clinics.
Any navigation system is based on a combination of software and hardware that is adjusted to display the detailed scheme of the place and the territory. Using the navigation, a person can see the location of an object on the map and track his movement around the hospital in real-time.
The system is characterized by wide functionality and offers visitors not just simple step-by-step navigation, but a wide range of additional options, including:
- Intuitive search for objects on the map by keywords;
- Possibility to make a remote appointment;
- Reminders about appointments or other visits;
- Personalized notifications based on the current location;
- Possibility to share your location with relatives or friends.
The technology allows finding the shortest way to the needed object. The system is configured to use the most suitable lifts, entrances, and halls. If desired, users can choose the routes that will allow them to avoid too narrow stairs or steep climbs. More detailed information can be provided about each object. Thus, if it is a doctor’s office, a visitor can get access to his contact information or data on his working hours.
Indoor navigation belongs to innovative solutions that allow managing flows of visitors and reducing the time of their staying inside a hospital. Thanks to the system implementation, it is possible to cut down on appointment time and avoid queues near rooms or registration desks. Every year indoor-outdoor tracking solutions are used more and more widely for improving navigation at hospitals and other medical institutions. It is particularly relevant with the beginning of the pandemic when hospitals got an important task of ensuring social distancing and lowering the staff workload.
Technologies for implementing indoor-outdoor navigation
The navigation system in the mobile application can be realized with several techniques to choose from. One of the most effective solutions is iBeacon technology based on the Bluetooth® Low Energy platform. The halls and rooms of a medical institution are equipped with special beacons that transmit signals at specified intervals. Users’ mobile devices detect these impulses and let the system define the location of a person. The accuracy of calculations is about 1 m.
Based on the data about a user’s location, the platform builds routes, delivers information about objects, and sends out notifications. iBeacon technology is characterized by simple integration into the already existing hospital infrastructure and doesn’t require high implementation costs. Sensors (beacons) are powered by independent sources of supply that can function, on average, for 5 years, so the system maintenance costs are minimal.
Watch our with Kontakt.io helpful webinar on Transforming Patient Experience with Bluetooth® Low Energy Indoor Navigation:
Another popular solution is Wi-Fi technology that automatically identifies objects using the existing points of access and allows localization in real-time. As well as iBeacon, the system makes it possible to build routes and send out messages, but its accuracy is, on average, up to 3-5 m.
UWB technology is applied for high accuracy localization. It allows detecting an object with an accuracy of up to 30 sm. Moreover, indoor navigation can be realized with the help of such technologies as RFID, GPS, and some other modern solutions which are selected taking into account the size and needs of an institution.
What is necessary for navigation implementation?
To have only a positive and successful indoor-outdoor navigation experience for hospitals, the implementation into the clinic infrastructure has to be done professionally and the following moments should be considered:
- Hospital plan. For the quality implementation of navigation solutions, it is necessary to have a detailed plan of all rooms and objects so as not to have problems in the future in searching for points of interest.
- Selection of equipment. It is essential to competently approach the issue of choosing the technology and equipment that will meet the needs of a particular hospital. All beacons and tags have to be installed correctly and in appropriate places, so the installation should be trusted only by professionals.
- Successful deployment. To make navigation work, correct installation is not enough – people have to be informed about its availability. Advertising, information booths, or even the “word of mouth” can assist in this.
- Accessibility. While implementing the system, one should make sure that all the objects on the territory and hospital buildings are accessible for patients, especially elevators and ramps for people with limited mobility.
- Cross-platform. Navigation needs to be available on any device – smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. Patients should have the possibility to choose the most convenient way of interaction for them.
Navigine develops navigation systems and offers clients effective solutions for navigation in hospitals. At your service are carefully thought-out software systems based on defining the exact location of objects. They help to develop user-friendly mobile apps that can assist in searching and wayfinding inside buildings. For obtaining more detailed information on our offers, contact Navigine specialists by filling in the form.
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What are the benefits of implementing a hospital wayfinding system?
Indoor navigation helps to reduce significantly the number of people who are late for appointments or procedures. The system provides a clear understanding of where to go and which route to choose, so a person can get to their destination much faster. As a rule, most people come to the hospital feeling sick. The implementation of wayfinding solutions allows visitors to avoid stress and increase the quality of their visits. Navigation technologies improve patient experience and let medical institutions show concern for their visitors. Navigation provides benefits both for clients and the staff. It optimizes the flow of people releasing employees’ time, which allows doctors and nurses to concentrate on their work and reduce their stress and fatigue.
Why is indoor navigation better than information booths or signs?
An information booth can become a good solution for navigating space. Its use allows patients to understand the direction of their movement and get to the needed floor or building. But if you want the quality of service to be high, you have to take care of indoor navigation that ensures reaching the necessary point of interest quickly and without a hitch. Thanks to the system, a visitor can find a room or an office without assistance.
What is necessary for implementing indoor-outdoor navigation at hospitals?
The implementation of indoor-outdoor navigation into the infrastructure requires a set of tools that will make it possible to develop a mobile application with maps of buildings. Depending on the selected technology, the system may require the installation of tags, beacons, and readers. To transform signals from sensors into information, special software is necessary, which, apart from this task, can perform a wide range of other functions based on location. Navigine will provide all the necessary equipment and software solutions, integrate them into the infrastructure, and will customize the system according to the needs of a particular medical institution.