NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)
GPS technology has come to an unexpected place – hospitals. The navigation technology is helping patients and visitors find their way in some really confusing buildings.
Hospitals are not easy places to find your way around. They can be scary and stressful for many people, making it confusing to find the x-ray department, a clinic, or visit a patient. That’s what Diana Krulik-Bentan faced visiting her father who’d just had kidney surgery.
“The place is massive… When going to a hospital to visit a loved one, the last thing you want to worry about is navigating a large space,” Krulik-Bentan said.
Nurse manager Megan Weinman sees the problem all the time.
“We often see family members lost,” the Hackensack University Hospital manager said.
That’s less of a problem now, thanks to an indoor navigation system that Hackensack University recently installed. It’s a kind of indoor GPS, but without the satellites.
“It uses Bluetooth beacons that transmit signals and triangulate your position within two to three feet,” Joe Motta of Connexient.
The system works through a free downloadable app onto your smartphone… The chief technology officer for hackensack showed me the step-by-step directions the app provides.
“There are lots of people in this facility, lots of motion, this reduces frustration and confusion,” said Dr. David Reiss of Hackensack Meridian Health.
CBS2 followed Diana as she navigated her way to her father’s unit. Just like outdoor GPS, it follows your progress, tells you what your next turns are, and even gets you onto elevators and off at the right floor.
The Connexient system has already been installed at more than 60 hospitals around the country including six of the largest in the Tri-state area. It took a little bit of stress out of Diana’s hospital visits to see her father.
By: Anthony Vecchione
February 18, 2019 7:01 am
MediNav will be integrated with Epic Systems Corp.’s MyChart software within the HMH Well mobile app. That functionality will also enable users to access lab results, appointment dates, medications and immunization history.
The health system will roll out the technology at Jersey Shore Medical Center next month and eventually at all of the hospitals in the HMH network.
“All the comments and complaints from patients about the difficulties navigating the building have been reduced since we implemented the GPS technology,” Modupe said.
The way Mark Green, CEO and co-founder of Connexient explains it, the company has created a navigation technology similar to how you would use to Google directions from your car except this can be used inside a large complex or building like a hospital.
“Think of it like indoor GPS for patients,” said Green.
Users download the app to their smartphone. When they enter the hospital building they get a blue dot on an indoor map that gives them turn-by-turn, step-by-step directions to a room, cardiology or radiology departments or anywhere else they want to go in the hospital.
“You can get lost pretty quickly inside a large hospital. It’s all about trying to improve the patient experience, reduce the levels of stress and anxiety whether you’re a patient or a family member going to visit a patient.” said Green.
In addition to indoor mapping, a feature called parking planner helps users with another challenge — figuring out what to do with their cars. The app recommends the best parking location based on the user’s indoor destination and then provides directions and navigation to help them get to that exact garage or lot.
“When they arrive in the parking garage they get the blue dot navigation from the moment they get out of their car in the parking garage and it navigates them to their appointment,” said Green. A find-my-car feature saves the parking spot inside the app and when they’re done, provides the blue dot turn-by-turn navigation back to the car.
MediNav isn’t necessarily changing the world, but we’re contributing to the larger global navigation picture… indoor navigation is becoming just as important as finding your way outdoors. Hospitals are just one area Connexient is focusing on. Other companies are developing wayfinding apps for airports, stadiums, college campuses and malls. How many times have you gone to a new city or foreign country and typed your destination into Waze or Google Maps without thinking much about how difficult it used to be using Rand McNally Road Atlases? Now that’s an old school reference!
Connexient CEO & Co-Founder, Mark Green
Mark Green has spent over 30 years as a highly successful sales executive and leader in both Enterprise software and wayfinding industries. This includes serving as VP, Sales and building the sales team and revenue ramp for a $2B+ IPO with Silknet Software. Post-IPO, Mark was instrumental in the $4.2B acquisition of Silknet by Kana Communications, where Mark became Vice President, Strategic Accounts of the combined company. Mark was also VP, Sales at Relicore, which had a successful exit when acquired by Symantec. Mark served as CEO of GDS, Inc. for 6 years before co-founding Connexient. Mark is a graduate of Colby College.
1. Can you tell us what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve been involved with growing start-ups in both healthcare and enterprise software throughout my entire career. My business partner, Joe Motta and I have a hospital wayfinding and graphic design business called GDS. As the proliferation of outdoor GPS platforms emerged (MapQuest, Google Maps and Waze), we innovated a mobile app called MediNav; it is a revolutionary solution for digital wayfinding in hospitals.
2. What is the most interesting story that happened since you began your career?
The most interesting and successful story of my career was when I was with the senior management team that sold Silknet Software to Kana Communications for $4.2B. At the time (2000) it was the second largest software acquisition ever. Since then, it’s been fun growing companies especially innovating with Connexient to develop and implement the best “Indoor GPS for hospital patients.”
3. What bleeding edge technological breakthroughs are you working on? How do they help people?
The bleeding edge technological breakthrough that we’re innovating at Connexient addresses how to position and navigate someone on their smartphone inside a 5 million square foot hospital with multiple levels and several buildings. Our mission is to make the patient experience stress-free by providing blue dot turn-by-turn navigation. We are helping people find their way to their appointments, plus we have parking planner and meet up features that can also be integrated in the hospital’s app.
4. How do you think you might change the world?
MediNav isn’t necessarily changing the world, but we’re contributing to the larger global navigation picture… indoor navigation is becoming just as important as finding your way outdoors. Connexient is focused on healthcare and hospitals whereas other companies are developing wayfinding solutions for airports, stadiums, college campuses and malls. How many times have you gone to a new city or foreign country and typed your destination into Waze or Google Maps without thinking much about how difficult it used to be using Rand McNally Road Atlases? Now that’s an old school reference!
5. Keeping Black Mirror in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
There are always concerns about user privacy when dealing with mobile devices, but Connexient keeps everything anonymous. I don’t see this as a drawback because we don’t know whom the end user is; we just help them get to where they need to go.
6. What was the tipping point that led you to this technology?
The tipping point that led us to MediNav was realizing that people would come to expect the same type of mapping and navigation experience indoors, as they get outdoors. Using Google Maps or Waze while driving has become a way of life.
7. What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
Widespread adoption is in the works. We need to collaborate with our hospital clients on marketing strategies to promote the wayfinding app, once they’ve launched it on the app stores. We’re also integrating MediNav with EHR systems and appointment scheduling apps like Epic’s MyChart. That will increase the adoption of our solution significantly.
8. What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Marketing strategies?
We are building awareness through a host of marketing and PR strategies, including: digital and content marketing, social media, testimonials… we’re very proud of our Giving Tuesday initiative with Hackensack Meridian Health. We donated over 1,000 compassionate compression kits to be distributed to patients at Hackensack University Medical Center over the holidays beginning on Tuesday, November 27th (aka GivingTuesday). The kits included: a pair of compression socks, an eye mask and ear plugs. Compression socks are great for post-op and recovery because they help increase circulation; decrease swelling and muscle soreness, while reducing the risk of DVT. This charitable act of kindness is an example of how we are giving the gift of compassion to patients alongside our largest customer. http://www.connexient.com/
9. Who is your mentor(s)?
My greatest mentor has been my father. He’s an accomplished academic who taught me the importance of hard work and a well-written thank you letter. From a business perspective, my mentor was Jay Wood, who was the CEO of Silknet software while I was VP of Sales. Now, he’s a filmmaker on the West Coast (aka Family Guy).
10. How have you used success to bring goodness to the world?
The GivingTuesday campaign Connexient spearheaded with Hackensack Meridian Health is the best example of us “collectively” bringing goodness to the world. On a personal, every day level, I treat employees with the same level of respect, as a client or someone in my family. Connexient’s core values are closely aligned with my own: respect, gratitude, honesty, courage, integrity and excellence are the top five.
11. What are five things I wish someone told me before I started this journey and why?
The five things I wish someone told me before I started Connexient: 1.) it’s a marathon – pace yourself 2.) anticipate challenges and set-backs – learn how to pivot 3.) hire well and delegate 4.) surround yourself with a skilled team of professionals 5.) Stay true to your vision.
12. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
If I could inspire a movement it would be to make education available to everyone. Whether that’s through formal academics or mentorship in a specific trade… I think many of the problems in our society could be solved with education and mentorship. I try to be a good mentor to my three adult children and my employees.
13. Can you please share your favorite life lesson quote?
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” – Steve Jobs.
14. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say?
Have you ever gotten lost in a hospital? You’re not alone. Nearly every patient or visitor has experienced getting lost. Finding your way through the massive maze-like facilities and medical centers can be stressful. Getting lost can also result in missed or late appointments – a problem that costs hospitals over $150B annually in the United States. Connexient is an innovative technology company that developed a revolutionary solution called MediNav™ and it’s indoor GPS for hospitals. This true turn-by-turn bluedot navigation provides voice prompts, off-route notification and more – just like what billions of users have come to enjoy and expect in the outdoor world with Google Maps, Apple or Waze. But now they can have an indoor guide to help them reach their appointment.
MediNav is powered by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and sophisticated sensor fusion technology. Connexient closed its Series A funding in Q4 2017 from Riverside Acceleration Capital.
15. How can our readers follow you on social media?
Readers can follow us on Twitter @Connexient and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/connexient/
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal published a nice article about MediNav at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. Here are some excerpts and you can link to the complete article at bottom.
Randy Pritchard and his wife, Patricia, have had a difficult year, having both dealt with medical issues that required many appointments on the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Froedtert Hospital campus. Sometimes, they had to move quickly from one appointment to the next and go from one part of the hospital to another, but the Pritchards are thankful they did not have to worry about finding their way — they use the Froedtert & MCW Finder App.
“The app guides us to wherever we need to go,” Randy said. “We have a million thoughts running through our minds, so it’s nice to not worry about getting lost, being late to an appointment or not being able to find our parking spot. The app has helped reduce our anxiety, and we have been able to focus on staying positive and calm.”
The Froedtert & MCW Finder App launched in late 2017. Since then, there have been more than 6,000 downloads and about 125 uses per day. The app provides turn-by-turn directions (powered by Bluedot location technology), detailed indoor maps and location-based services, including a parking planner feature to help you park in the structure closest to your appointment and a car location saver. The app will detect when you have entered a parking garage and prompt you to save your parking location, or it will automatically remember the location for you and guide you back to it later.
“We were looking for a solution to a big campus problem,” said David Chao, emerging technology principal for Inception Health, the health network’s innovation accelerator. “Historically, health care systems grow and can turn into labyrinths, and we recognized that more physical signs is only part of the answer. We needed a digital solution.”
Inception Health partnered with Connexient LLC, a leader in digital wayfinding and navigation services in the health care field. The same technology that powers the Froedtert & MCW Finder App is used in 58 hospitals across the country.
"The Froedtert & MCW health network is using innovative technology in many ways to transform health care,” said Mike Anderes, president of Inception Health. “With the Froedtert & MCW Finder App, we can enhance the experience of patients and visitors to our academic medical center campus with simple wayfinding from the moment they leave home until they arrive at their appointment. Over time, as we fully integrate the technology with appointment scheduling and reminders, we expect to improve productivity and operational efficiency for our staff as well."
As GIS and mapping technologies evolved through the later part of the 20th century focusing mainly on the physical(outdoor) landscape, the digital mapping of the built/interior environment continued to focus on the use of AutoCAD/Revit and related CAD technologies. With exceptions, there were two definitive geographic mapping camps: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software vs. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. One or the other. And with little integration of both.
As both technologies matured, integration between the two computing environments became more common and the lines of division blurred. New technologies including, but not limited to Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Laser Scanning, Building Information Modeling (BIM), and drones, as well as advancements in 3D modeling and increased desktop and internet capacity aided to the continued integration of the software platforms. GIS and BIM Integration Will Transform Infrastructure Design and Construction is a very recent and quick read from Autodesk charting the path of this flourishing market.
Fast forward to 2018 and the evolution of indoor wayfinding which leverages many of the components of these same outdoor and indoor mapping concepts. Based on a similar spatial data model, Wayfinding applications are now found in a wide range of public spaces, educational and industrial campuses, entertainment and athletic venues, buildings, and healthcare facilities. Offering indoor maps for handheld mobile devices is becoming more and more common, as are digital information kiosk systems in office complex lobbies, and as part of web mapping applications. (It is often recognized that The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) represented a milestone and was instrumental in helping to make spaces universally accessible and improving wayfinding for all individuals.)
New York City-based Connexient was formed in June 2012 with the vision that indoor GPS and navigation will become as widespread inside as it is outside.
With over 60 licensed hospital client sites and a total square footage over 70 million square feet mapped, Connexient is a market leader in healthcare in providing smart phone based turn-by-turn indoor navigation and all screens digital wayfinding solutions. Leveraging significant breakthroughs in the ability to implement low cost, navigation quality indoor positioning, users can now expect the same kind of functionality – intuitive, reliable and accurate maps, directions and turn-by-turn navigation which is commonly available from outdoor world mapping and navigational companies such as Google, Apple and Waze. The same user experience can be available via a mobile app for any large, complex indoor facility or campus that they enter. Today, these capabilities are highlighted in Connexient’s flagship product MediNavTM.
The co-founders of Connexient, Mark Green and Joe Motta have over two decades of experience in designing and deploying hospital wayfinding solutions, which at that time was primarily static signage. The success of these signage systems depended in large part on their skills in indoor mapping, and developing a methodology for conveying complex routing information in simple ways. But no matter how good the system, these could not come close to the power of navigation.
They also worked on deploying kiosks over the years, but these had similar limitations:
“So we started with a simple question”, notes Connexient Chief Product Officer, Geoff Halstead, “why can’t we have Indoor GPS and Smartphone navigation apps? And we had a deep conviction that if we figured that out, we could finally truly solve the problem of getting around hospitals and other very large facilities.” He adds “But even that is just the tip of the iceberg. When you look below the surface, you find that there are all kinds of inefficiencies across operations, facility management, safety & security response and more which will benefit from the revolution of Indoor Navigation and Location-based services that is unfolding in large Enterprises across the world.”