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Locatible indoor navigation to solve more than £700m problem of missed hospital appointments

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Posted July 13, 2015

Missed hospital appointments cost the National Health Service £700m annually  in UK [1] [2] according to the latest report by HSCIC. The Guardian states [3] that after asking doctors, attributes a significant fraction of this to navigation problems, especially at large hospitals. However, it’s not only patients getting lost. Also junior doctors reported getting lost on the way to urgent calls.

Locatible team (left to right: Jonathan Norris, Rónán O'Cóigligh, Peter Kortvel)

Locatible team (left to right: Jonathan Norris, Rónán O’Cóigligh, Peter Kortvel)

Locatible indoor navigation a real-time location platform for healthcare can help hospital visitors find their way on their smartphones to tackle missed hospital appointments, help hospital visitors (including visually impaired, blind, disabled patients) to navigate around and also to provide detailed analytics  for hospital management.

“64% of adults own a smartphone today. [4] With GPS widely adopted since 90’s, indoor localisation has been not existing until now. However, today, is the time for hospitals to think about the patient experience, safety and cost benefits which indoor navigation can provide.” summarises Rónán O’Cóigligh, CEO of Locatible.

Patients and visitors (and even staff) can be navigated directly from where they parked their car directly to their destination in a sprawling hospital campus. It can guide them with turn by turn directions straight to their destination. Hospitals can also send notifications direct to the visitor, things like have they disinfected their hands on entry for example. Should the visitor be disabled and require wheelchair routing it will guide them through.

Analytical data for hospital design to help wayfinding

The Wall Street Journal [5] noticed that: “Hospitals are realizing they have a design problem as patients and visitors struggle to navigate the maze of the modern medical complex.” also pointing out that “many hospitals are borrowing strategies from shopping malls and airports to make it easier for people to get around” and this is also true for Locatible:

Locatible healthcare indoor navigation

Locatible healthcare indoor navigation

“Originally, we started with indoor localisation for the retail industry. The data that many shop owners know already like visits, regency, average visit in store, engagement… can be translated into hospital analytics. Where are the hospital visitors going the most of the time? How long do they stay in any one place, how long does it take to go from one location to another? How often do they come back to a hospital again? How long do they wait? Which are the most overloaded locations? Where do patients struggle to find a way? These and other real-time and historical data are invaluable when enhancing the design of a hospital, helping people in wayfinding and making a hospital more patient oriented.

Visually impaired and blind patients

Finding a way in a hospitals for visually impaired or blind can be a pretty rough experience. Often impossible independently requiring help from staff. To understand their position in a hospital we asked some of the visually impaired and blind or their relatives to get the first hand experience.

“For my boyfriend, who is completely blind, it is pretty much impossible without assistance from a staff member. There may be Braille on the wayfinding signs, but most blind people don’t know or use Braille.”

“I have so bad memories from hospitals and especially last year that I rather die than go in any hospital. Let’s put it this way: Hospitals and EMS fail in recognising people who are blind or visually impaired.”

“The hospital I attend the most is an old victorian hospital that has had loads of modern extensions built on to it, as a result it is a huge confusing labyrinthine mess even for the fully sighted. I normally have to ask for a hospital porter to take me in a wheelchair (I do have walking problems too) otherwise it would take me forever to reach whatever dept. I’m going too.”

“Most hospitals I’ve been too is pretty much the same experience – confusing, disorientating.”

However voice navigation for the visually impaired and the blind enables them to find their way more independently enhancing their safety and providing them a simple solution to be more self-sustaining and independent in the area of a hospital.

Disabled patients

Navigation in a hospital can be also demanding for disabled patients. Should the visitor be disabled and require wheelchair routing a smartphone application will guide them through.

The technology is here…

Hospitals are known to be very stressful locations for their visitors. However their experience in a hospital can be enhanced with the use of smartphones.

“The latest report by a company Ricoh [6] says that 74% of hospitals that use mobile devices or tablet from patients are more efficient than those that don’t. The technology for indoor location for hospitals, with everything hospitals might need from it, is here to be used on any smartphone, now it’s the time for hospitals and healthcare facilities to adopt it.” concluded Rónán from Locatible.

References:

[1] K. Lay, “Missed hospital appointments cost NHS £700m,” 27 February 2015.
[2] “Hospital outpatients: Appointments top 100 million for first time in 2013-14,” Health & Social Care Information Centre, 25 February 2015.
[3] J. Pinchin, “Getting lost in hospitals costs the NHS and patients,” 5 March 2015.
[4] A. Smith, “U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015,” 1 April 2015..
[5] L. Landro, “A Cure for Hospital Design,” 3 February 2014.
[6] “74 Percent of Hospitals that use Mobiles or Tablets are More Efficient,” April 2015.

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