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Last week, we zeroed in on how we work with Google Maps to deliver true end-to-end, outdoor + indoor maps, directions and navigation. This partnership allows us to make - for example - the complex challenge of parking simple for the patient or visitor arriving at a large facility or campus. 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.
The key to this, once again, is our ability as a Google Maps for Work Partner to:
We will focus here on four examples.
While Google knows and maps the world around us to an astonishing level of detail and accuracy, any facility manager that oversees a large campus knows that they often fall a bit short in keeping this data current and complete. The reasons are simple.
Luckily, as a Google Maps for Work Partner, Connexient can apply its professional mapping services to add these critical details. We can even add things like pedestrian routing and navigation to get users between buildings on appropriate paths rather than roadways.
As a trusted mapper and partner, we can also work to help update the base Google Map itself so that errors in the maps that might affect all users - not just those of your apps - are corrected.
Either way, Connexient is there to make sure it is right, because we know that The Map Really Matters.
While it may seem simple, Campus entry points and gates can and often do present a confounding element to campus navigation. On some campuses, such as the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, gates are secured and specific gates are restricted to specific types of visitors. Or, at other campuses, different gates are frequently open or closed depending on the day of the week or the time of the day (e.g. there may be only one gate open in the evenings or weekends).
Whatever the reason, if you end up trying to enter through the wrong gate, not only will you be turned back, but all your routing & navigation will be wrong from there. Failing to address it results in a total failure of wayfinding.
MediNav's Campus Wizard - launching in August - solves this problem by leveraging our knowledge of your facility and campus and presenting the user with a very simple wizard to identify which type of visitor they are. And, our Time of Day Exclusions automatically check whether or not a designated gate on a route is open. If it is not, then we can notify the user and automatically adjust their routing.
Many campuses and networks - like the National Institutes of Health - have shuttle systems that are a key service and solution for patients, visitors and staff. Knowing these shuttle schedules and stops - and when and where the next shuttle is arriving to take you where you want to go - is a critical component of Digital Wayfinding.
MediNav's Shuttle Tracker provides an elegant, totally integrated solution for the Shuttle systems. We can integrate and support:
When you combine this with our indoor mapping and navigation, we can now connect the dots and provide a real solution end-to-end. Currently, a user inside a building can easily check their shuttle stop and time of arrival for the next van. Upon arrival to their destination on a hospital campus, they can use inside navigation. This includes a time to destination estimate to know when they need to leave to catch their shuttle. Coming soon, we will take a step further and - just like our Parking Planner - recommend the best shuttle location and van for the user based on selecting their final destination and tell them when they have to start walking to catch it.
Making those kinds of complex problems easy for the user is what indoor + outdoor, end-to-end Digital Wayfinding with MediNav is all about.
When it comes to Network-Wide Wafyinding, the challenge is a little different. Google knows the outdoor world, and we can rely on Google to get the user their with 100% reliability (OK, 99.99%), incorporating traffic information to optimize the driving route and providing multi-modal options (e.g biking and public transportation).
The problem that real world users face fall into two areas.
Accurate and Complete Data
All of the network locations - and particularly the locations of affiliated physicians, caregivers and resources - are often scattered around in different data warehouses and resources on a Healthcare Network's Web site, if they are available at all. There is rarely, in our experience, a "source of truth" or process for consolidating and validating such data in a large organization. It is just too complex and, until now, there was no pay-off for doing so.
Given this, users normally must resort to Googling a particular physician, clinic, laboratory - whatever it is - and hope that the name they have matches what Google has. And if they do, more often than not what will come back is a list of names and locations to choose from, mixing together not just alternative locations but also caregivers and resources that may have nothing to do with your Healthcare network.
So the result is confusion and frustration for the user. For the Heatlhcare Network, besides a poor user experience, this can also mean literally driving users to resources outside of your network! So it's a lose-lose situation.
MediNav addresses this by integrating all of your network locations and affiliated caregivers and resources into one directory. The user can then use one simple, elegant search and filter UI to drill down quickly and easily to what they are looking for and be sure that is the right person or place and right location. For the Healthcare Network, of course, this ensures that you are keeping the patient or visitor in the network.
We have also found with our clients that this becomes an invaluable resource for staff. Now, rather than having to go back to their desk and search through different databases, staff can have the right information available on the go at their fingertips to provide to a patient, make a phone call or even navigate to get there.
Outdoor + Indoor
If the user now wants to get to that network location, of course, MediNav provides the end-to-end, outdoor + indoor maps, routes and navigation to get there. Often, a patient or visitor will be starting from inside the hospital and then moving on to their next appointment. Let's look at this as an example. MediNav will:
Thanks to our Google Maps for Work partnership, we can also leverage Google's rich real-time data on Traffic Conditions, or provide options for Public Transportation -incorporating train and bus schedules, or let them know when they need to leave to get to their destination on time.
In the future, we will do much, much more with this rich dynamic data that only Google can provide, to give users even richer and more useful information and options that will reduce late and missed appointments and give our clients visibility and leverage to optimize your resources. But that is the topic for another blog!
If you would like to learn how end-to-end, outdoor + indoor wayfinding and navigation with Connexient + Google Maps will benefit your organization and users, please contact us!
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Last week saw the launch of MediNav at the National Institutes of Health as NIHCC Take Me There. This was, of course, an exciting milestone for Connexient in many ways, and there were many things that were unique and significant in our product evolution. But these are the ones that stand out.
Size really does matter! The NIH Clinical Center has some three and a half million square feet under one roof, in which we mapped over 6,000 rooms and deployed over 950 beacons. We learned a lot and developed many new tools and techniques to deliver reliable, robust facility wide navigation at this scale.
And that is a good thing since we now have multiple deployments in process that are even larger!
The NIH also represents our first launch of the new MediNav Web Version. This is an incredibly important part of the overall solution, enabling users to pre-plan a visit before they leave. It also helps to drive awareness and adoption of the mobile app with our Send to Phone and Print features.
We will have a lot more to say and show about the Web version in next week’s blog.
The NIH spans 322 acres and has over 70 buildings. For visitors to the NIH Clinical Center, getting into and across this campus is a very big wayfinding challenge in itself. Connexient built custom map layers with our Google Maps for Work partnership to support intelligent routing for patients and visitors to the right gate and then on to the correct parking lot.
We also added a Shuttle Van Tracker that lets users see exactly where their shuttle van is and when it is arriving to the closest stop.
And next month we will add even more:
We were also able to develop and refine important new features that push us forward in delivering true turn-by-turn navigation.
And we are still learning and evolving. Stay tuned as we release new features later this summer!
For the 40,000 plus people that work at the NIH, navigating the campus and Clinical Center is not an abstract problem. It brings challenges on a daily basis that have a direct impact on productivity. That’s why all 40,000 staff members are in the NIHCC Take Me There application, and all 6,000 rooms are navigation-enabled.
But we also added a new feature for Facility Management that we think will be a hit with all of our clients: a location-smart issue reporter. In a building the size of the NIH Clinical Center, there is a lot of maintenance required. But knowing where there are issues and then directing housekeeping or maintenance staff to get there can be daunting.
With MediNav, the NIHCC can now crowd-source issue reporting. Any staff member can quickly submit an issue ticket with a couple of taps , attach a photo and comments, and have that sent to the housekeeping and maintenance staff with an exact map of its location.
These first operational use cases are a great example of something we have always believed and now are seeing come to reality not just at the NIH but across all of our clients: Patient Experience is just the starting point. Once rich indoor maps, navigation and location-based services are deployed in a large, complex facility, they will, over time, be applied to address many other use cases that drive compelling value and ROI. Connexient is dedicated to delivering that value to its clients, and is moving down the path together with them to realize this vision.
We’ll have more to say on that in blogs to come!