Our debut at HiMSS 2014 proved to be a watershed event for Connexient in every way. There are times when hard work, planning, execution and a good dose of luck all come together, and this was one of them. We found ourselves literally inundated with new clients and prospects as well as new partnership opportunities from many different angles. Our challenge now is to deal with this rapid growth, but that is one we are happy to take on!
If you are interested, you can get a glimpse of the activity on our blog pages:
This blog post, however, will focus on what learned about our business and product direction in all of our client and partner interactions at the show.
What We Learned
When you go to market with a new product, it is always a leap into the unknown. We spent over a year consulting with prospective early adopter clients - listening to their needs, reviewing prototypes and working with staff users on refining early Alpha and then beta releases. Even so, it is only when you deliver to your first clients and end users that you really start to learn what your product will become.
That process then gets accelerated at an event like HiMSS, where we interacted with over 100 hospital and healthcare networks, as well as partners like Cisco that have a broad view of the marketplace.The result of all this was very gratifying in that it validated some of our fundamental beliefs and premises about our product. It also gave new momentum and some sharper focus to the direction we are headed in.
Here is what we learned.
1. Healthcare Really is Unique
What is important - and appropriate - for Indoor Location-based Services (LBS) in a healthcare setting is very different from what is important at a shopping mall, airport or other public venue dedicated to merchandising and commerce.
The priorities at a Hospital and Healthcare network are things like providing relevant information, reducing anxiety, streamlining and making processes easier for both patients, visitor and staff. This is all part of creating a great Patient Experience - something that Connexient is deeply committed to.
In addition, issues like HIPAA Compliance and ensuring that Protected Health Information stays private and secure add complexity that must be addressed while still keeping the UX simple for an end user. This is particularly important as Indoor LBS will be integrated into clinical and operational applications and processes.
2. Integration is Critically Important
In designing MediNav, we believed from the beginning that integration to other Healthcare applications, platforms and IT would be critically important over the long run. Wayfinding is a big pain point and "killer application" to start with, but what we are really doing is helping our clients to build a digital infrastructure that will enable Indoor LBS to be integrated into the Enterprise wherever it is needed.
Our variant of Metcalfe's Law for Indoor LBS in the Enterprise environment is the following.
The value of an Indoor Mapping and LBS system will increase proportionally to the number of integrations to other applications, platforms and Enterprise IT.
Will it be an exponential return? Perhaps not. But there is no doubt that with each new integration, the return on this initial investment - and the either fixed or decreasing ongoing cost of maintenance - will continue to increase.
At HiMSS 2014, we heard over and over from client's and prospects with their ideas and needs about how Indoor Maps, Navigation and LBS could be integrated into other applications and systems to improve Patient Experience, increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.
3. Partnerships are the Key to Successful Integrations
One thing that is simple and comes naturally to a small company like Connexient is focus. We were impressed, however, that even very large companies that approached us similarly understood the need to focus on their strengths and form partnerships to deliver integrated solutions that will really help Hospitals, Healthcare Networks and their patients and visitors.
At Connexient, we are focused on just two things.
The first is making and maintaining Enterprise-grade Indoor Maps, Navigation and LBS - and delivering that all in a great user experience (UX) that is truly intuitive and useful. We think this is really hard and takes intense, dedicated effort to do well.
The second is making it easy to bring Enterprise-grade Indoor Maps, Navigation and LBS into any other Healthcare application, platform and system. That journey is just beginning for us with the preview of our API and SDK. But is one to which we are fundamentally committed.
At HiMSS 2014, we began discussions and will soon roll up our sleeves with our first set of Alpha Partners to use our API and SDK. This process will be invaluable in both improving our offering and creating truly useful integrations that easy for our clients to deploy. So, we are excited to begin!
4. The Map Really Does Matter
At Connexient, we have a mantra: The Map Really Matters. Based on 17 years of experience in design and implementing Wayfinding systems, Connexient understands that making and keeping a map accurate is hard. What we have learned over the last year is that when you add directions and navigation to the picture to deliver flawless Digital Wayfinding, it gets even harder. If the map and wayfinding data is not accurate, it is useless.
With our current clients - and the vast majority of prospects we have talked to - the capacity and knowledge required for navigation-quality Indoor Mapping simply does not exist today. That's why Connexient is dedicated to providing Enterprise-grade Indoor Mapping services and support on an ongoing basis. Hospitals and Healthcare Networks need to focus on delivering healthcare services - and the complex choreography of technology, processes, knowledge and operations that go into that. The last thing they want to worry about today is maintaining an Indoor Map and LBS data.
5. Healthcare is Becoming a Technology Innovator
What impressed us most of all was the creative energy, enthusiasm and passion for innovation that we heard coming from CIOs, CTOs, CMIOs and other technology leaders at Healthcare Networks and their technology partners.
While the road has been long and hard to get here, we saw a strong vision and understanding that as the different investments in Healthcare IT are integrated over the coming years, the benefits can be truly revolutionary.
Things must move more slowly in Healthcare. At the end of the day, lives are literally at stake. But from our viewpoint, the direction and momentum of technology innovation is enormous and just starting to crest. We think the next 3 - 5 years in Healthcare will be as dynamic and exciting as any technology-driven business revolution that has happened in the last 30 years.
The Road Ahead
So we have work to do. It is tremendously challenging, exciting and rewarding work, knowing that we are collaborating with both clients and partners that are committed to making a real impact with technology. We are eager to get started!