Due to the large size and often complex nature of hospital facilities, patients, visitors, and even hospital staff often rate finding their way around as one of the most difficult parts of their experience. Between staff-only areas, numerous departments, and confusing names, is it any wonder that people need something more than a sign on the wall or paper map in hand? For this reason, many hospitals are now considering how interactive indoor maps can help make navigation easier.
1 - Indoor maps let patients & visitors navigate freely within complex buildings
Wayfinding helps patients & visitors easily navigate through large hospital buildings by breaking complex journeys and confusing directions down into a series of simple steps and waypoints. An indoor mapping platform provides this service by combining the power of a search engine with wayfinding, and making the information accessible from smartphone, onsite kiosk, or the hospital website.
Before arriving or during their visit, patients can search and locate a department, the registration desk, or other location. They can gather information on the best route to take to go to the doctor appointment, distances between points, and nearby amenities. This ensures they have a smoother experience while visiting the hospital, removing a worry from their minds.
In addition to offering visitors a smartphone app and/or onsite kiosk, hospitals can also deploy dedicated signage featuring QR codes. QR codes can be placed at strategic points of the hospital to both promote the mapping application but also to help the visitor or patient locate their current position inside the premises. QR Codes can even be used on hospital information sheets, such as a department brochure, to make it even easier for visitors to find the location of the department in the hospital.
2 - Indoor maps can help reduce costs
Late arrivals or missed visits cost the hospital money. An indoor mapping platform can help reduce the frequency of these expensive mistakes. For example, an indoor mapping app can be connected with a patient meeting management tool, allowing the hospital to send an SMS with the time, date, and place of the appointment, along with easy to follow directions and venue information. Visitors can not only access information on parking availability and costs, but also on walking time from the parking lot to the relevant department or office.
The benefits of indoor maps are not limited to large healthcare facilities. Even in smaller and mid-size hospitals, the stewards welcoming the patients at the entrance or front desk may find it challenging to keep track of the various departments and offices located inside. A user-friendly indoor map offers support, reducing the need for additional training and updates as the facility layout changes.
By making this information readily available and accessible, reception and front office staff can make better use of their time. When they no longer have to give directions or manage late arrivals, they can focus on higher value tasks.
3 - Indoor maps help visitors and medical staff find the location of equipment
An indoor map can include more than details on locations. It can also be used to track where key equipment assets are located, with their exact position plotted on the map. Asset tracking is the lifeblood of the hospital sector. Wheelchairs, mobile beds, IV poles or respirators are highly demanded and constantly in use. Plus, the fact that those equipment are sometimes lost or stolen, adding to the cost of replacement. The costs of replacing and finding missing hospital equipment are reduced, which helps the bottom line.
Being able to actively track the location of each item can significantly reduce the time spent searching for them. This can be accomplished by combining interactive maps with indoor positioning solutions. Many asset-tracking positioning solutions can provide more efficient, cost effective deployments compared to their “people-tracking” equivalents. Such data can also provide feedback to better manage the allocation of amenities within the space, identifying the best location for waiting rooms, coffee and vending machines, or catering.
4 - Indoor maps increase hospital safety and security
In the event of an emergency, patients and staff need to be able to obtain safety instructions and to locate emergency exits very quickly. With indoor mapping technology, it is easy to generate the shortest route to emergency exits. Furthermore, by combining indoor location technologies, property managers can send push notifications to alert everyone in case of an emergency.
Indoor mapping platforms have other advantages over paper maps, such as giving facility managers the ability to temporarily close off certain areas of the hospital, and create detour routes. In case of a fire alarm or medical event, this can be very useful.
In situations where social distancing regulations come into effect, the mapping platform can restrict circulation to certain areas and reroute visitors away from halls or stairwells that are too narrow to meet space requirements. Even if social distancing is not needed, an indoor map can be used to control traffic flow in a hospital.
Another important capability offered by indoor mapping platforms is the accessibility mode for people with reduced mobility. These visitors can select this mode with a single click within the application. Visitors will then automatically be directed towards the most suitable routes, such as those which avoid narrow doorways or stairs. This is crucial in the healthcare sector, as it guarantees a safe route from point A to point B.
5 - Indoor maps simplify maintenance challenges
Keeping facilities and equipment in good working condition is of key importance in a hospital environment. Indoor maps can help make this task more manageable, by allowing facilities and maintenance teams easier oversight of both the space and the pipes and wiring behind the scenes. Indoor maps can be customized to display both floor plans and maintenance plans, as well as building specifications. This can speed up the time needed to find the source of leaks or breakdowns. These same maps can also be provided as a guide for external contractors, helping them to quickly locate where they should be. Using their own personal devices, they can access directions and also pull up information on the building infrastructure.
It’s easy to see the benefits of indoor mapping and wayfinding in healthcare. Hospitals can now offer a modern service that reduces the frustration and stress that patients may face in these huge buildings with multiple floors, departments and corridors.
For hospital staff, an interactive map can save time and optimize resources. In addition, it can improve patient and visitor satisfaction. The efficient improvements have a positive impact on hospital costs, as delays and no-shows will be reduced, and staff will spend less time directing patients and searching for equipment.
This innovative solution can also be used to enhance hospital security and equipment maintenance while providing an interactive map experience across multiple platforms, whether it be mobile, kiosk or your website.