Last week, we were proud to announce the launch of NIH Clinical Center Take Me There which was a major milestone in many ways.
Foremost in our minds are some of the new capabilities and features we have implemented in our partnership with Google Maps for Work, for which we are proud to announce today that we have become an official partner.
While we have been working with Google from almost the beginning, our new status will enable us to further enhance our integration as well as get the word out to our clients and prospects of how Connexient + Google Maps together can:
- enhance the Patient and Visitor experience;
- reduce late and missed appointments;
- improve operational efficiency.
Our Commitment to Network-wide, Outdoor + Indoor Wayfinding
Our collaboration with Google started from the very beginning of our planning and design for MediNav. Thanks to the 20 year background of our founders in wayfinding for Hospitals and Healthcare Networks, we knew that the challenges for patients and visitors usually start long before - and often continue after - they have arrived at the hospital.
Here are 3 typical challenges that almost all visitors face.
- Parking. Which garage or lot is closest to my actual appointment location, and how do I get there? And where did I leave my car when I parked hours ago?!
- Campus Navigation. Here Google often does not have the access to map or update critical details, such as the names of buildings, their location entrances - and respective parking, and so on.
- Network Locations. How do I get to the clinic, laboratory, medical office building or other location of an affiliated caregiver in the Healthcare network?
Leveraging Google Maps Outdoors
Google Maps for Work enables us to solve the outdoor component of these challenges with Google’s unparalleled map data, engine and APIs to solve real world challenges of digital wayfinding and navigation for our clients and users.
- Local data. The MediNav application has full access to Google’s worldwide database of over 100 million business listings and points of interest with the Google Places APIs.
- Give users the best route. The Directions API enables us to help users get from any location in the world to the our clients facilities - as well as to stores, hotels or other destinations and other local points of interest around it.
- Location visualization. With Google Maps for Work, MediNav users can see where they're going before they even get there with visually accurate Street View imagery.
And thanks to the new Google Navigation Deep Linking capabilities, this is not just restricted to Maps, Routes and Directions. We can send a user directly from the MediNav app to the Google Navigation app with the exact location loaded, knowing Google will get them there flawlessly.
Once they arrive, they then can re-open MediNav to start their indoor navigation - and coming soon we will automatically re-open it for them!
Filling the Crucial Gaps Between the Outdoor and Indoor Worlds
As amazing as Google is at mapping the entire outdoor world, it does not and cannot know your organization and facilities. The result of this is a wayfinding challenge we have all experienced at one point or another: being navigated by Google to a general address for a large facility - which more often than not can be very far away from where you actually need to go.
With our Google Maps for Work partnership, Connexient is able to add and maintain custom layers of map data for our clients that incorporate our knowledge and mapping of their campuses and facilities. This means that together with Google, we can deliver end-to-end, outdoor + indoor digital wayfinding and navigation, solving complex wayfinding challenges. Here are just a few examples.
- Adding custom labels, markers, routes and more - the crucial details Google does not know.
- Navigating users to the best parking garage or lot based on indoor appointment location.
- Providing multi-modal campus navigation in Google, including routing through different gates / entry points by visitor types.
- Deep linking to Google Navigation for the outdoor stage of the user's journey.
Parking Planner and My Car Saver: Making Something Complicated Simple
Almost every person arriving at a major hospital or medical center struggles with parking. Figuring out which garage is closest to your actual appointment destination indoors can be extremely difficult - and picking the wrong garage means a very long, stressful and confusing journey to start your patient experience that day.
And then when it comes time to get back to your car after your appointment, remembering where you parked and understanding how to get there from inside the building can be even more daunting.
Based on our 20 years of experience in Hospital wayfinding, we knew these are not secondary issues. They are some of the most frequent complaints that come up in patient surveys. That’s why we developed the MediNav Parking Planner and My Car Saver.
And it is a great example of how Google Maps and Connexient work together to provide an end-to-end, outdoor + indoor solution. Here’s a little tour to show you how.
Step 1: Recommending Your Parking Location. Thanks to our Indoor Map, we know exactly where you are going and which is the closest parking location. Users of course can also select from other available parking options.
Step 2: Getting You To Your Parking Location. Now you need to get there. Whereas Google would be unlikely to have the garage street address, MediNav can provide the exact directions - and even a deep link in Google to navigate you to the exact entrance.
Step 3: Getting You Through the Correct Campus Entrance. In very large facilities and campuses, Google also will not usually know what is the best entrance for your destination. MediNav handles and optimizes that - can can deal with special situations such as restrictions based on time of day or different entrances for different visitors.
Step 4: Reminding You to Save Your Car. When you arrive at the parking garage - if equipped with BLE Beacons - MediNav app will detect this and serve a welcome screen to remind you to save your parking spot. We can do this automatically based on your location, or let you select.
Step 5: Navigating You On To Your Indoor Destination. Now that your car’s parking location is saved, MediNav will automatically switch to the indoor map and continue your turn-by-turn navigation on to your final destination inside the building.
Step 6: Getting You Back to Your Car. Hours later, all the user had to do is tap on Take Me to My Car and no matter where they now are in the building they will be navigated right back their parking spot. From there, of course, they can also include their next outdoor destination - whether that be in the Healthcare network or home - and we will send them on their way in Google Navigation once again.
Through the integrated functionality and the custom data layers that we are able to create and maintain in Google Maps, MediNav is able to make a very complex wayfinding challenge simple for the user. He or she can just follow the blue dot and turn-by-turn directions end-to-end, both outdoors and indoors, with key location-based assists and prompts all along their way.
Actually making it work reliably and accurately is no less complex - and is only possible with the added functionality and control that we are given as a Google Maps for Work partner.
Part 2: Making Campus Navigation Work and Solving the Network Location Puzzle
The second part of this blog will address the next two common challenges of Wayfinding and Navigation that afflict almost all patients and visitors - and how we have integrated Google Maps to solve them. Please stay tuned!