Hospital ‘sav-nav’ puts patients on road to recovery

Hospital app

Patients at one of London’s busiest hospitals will have no excuse for missing appointments in future. They now have an app that helps them navigate the labyrinth of corridors.

The app is being launched by Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  Research had revealed that 87 per cent of patients ask for directions when they go to a hospital. And 30 per cent of first-time visitors report getting lost.

And given the sheer size of the building and the fact that it gets 6,000 visitors every day – all with different needs, at different times, with different end locations, this seemed to obvious place to trial it.

The app was developed by BuzzStreets and is part of the CW Innovation programme, a joint initiative between Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and its charity CW+, to “test and scale” innovations and digital systems that improve patient care and experience.

Joe Fernandez of Buzzstreets
Fernandez: brings the outside in

It allows visitors to navigate their way from outside all the way to a bed on a ward, a consulting room, the café, or the pharmacy.  even includes points of interest such as offices, cafeterias and, uniquely, more information about the Trust’s collection of over 2,000 works of art and digital installations.

The app uses a system of BLE Beacons, Wi-Fi signals, and the Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint the person’s location, giving them real-time directions, both spoken and visual, to allow them to navigate through the hospital, both horizontally and vertically. When they arrive, they open the app and key in the location they want. It then calculates a route to the point in the hospital they need.

“The pilot project has already shown that the app reduces frustration for staff and visitors alike,” said Vanessa Sloane, Deputy Chief Nurse. “It helps reduce the anxiety of patients and visitors trying to find their way in the hospital, which previously required contact with multiple different staff.”

The app also allows Personalised Navigation Services, for example allowing people with disabilities to receive navigation instructions that suit their needs. This may mean directing them to lifts rather than staircases, for example.

Joe Fernandez, CEO of BuzzStreets said: “The system brings outdoor navigation inside. And as one of London’s biggest and busiest hospitals, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has been the perfect pilot location.”

More information here