Healthcare

  • Consumer focus driving hospitals' construction and design, according to Modern Healthcare survey

    Enter a destination, and follow the colored path to the blue pin.

    The seemingly routine process of navigating with a mobile GPS app can also be used inside Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center.

    The medical center's parent, Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health, recently began offering a wayfinding app, similar to Google Map's pin technology, to seamlessly get patients from A to B.

    Read the full article on Modern Healthcare.

  • Hackensack Meridian Health Expands BLE Wayfinding to Jersey Shore

    One of New Jersey's largest health-care companies is using location-based data from a Connexient solution to provide its patients and visitors with automated wayfinding that can be integrated with their health records and appointments app.

    Mar 24, 2019—New Jersey health network Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) is expanding its Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon-based digital wayfinding and indoor navigation system, provided by navigation technology company Connexient, to a second hospital. That deployment follows the patient wayfinding solution launch at its Hackensack University Medical Center location. The second deployment will take place at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

    Additionally, the company is implementing integration between the location-based software from Connexient and its own Epic MyChart appointment scheduling and management features within its HMH Well Mobile application. It is also moving toward a more streamlined system that it can easily deploy at all locations. HMH operates a total of 17 hospitals and more than 500 ambulatory care centers, along with fitness, rehabilitation and home health service centers.

    Hospitals and clinics, by their very nature, can be difficult to navigate, especially for first-time patients. That not only makes visits more time-consuming or stressful for patients, but can also cause scheduling delays, according to David Reis, HMH's executive VP and CIO. The confused look of patients lost in a large unfamiliar building has not gone unnoticed by HMH's management, he adds. As early as 2011, HMH began looking for ways to use technology to help patients navigate their way around its buildings and find the quickest path to the departments at which they are expected.

    Hackensack Meridian Health's HMH Well app and the wayfinding solution were taken live around 2017, Reis says. The system has since gone through several iterations, he adds, during which the facility tested the beacon technology at one site. The firm has been expanding the deployment to other locations, as well as integrating the software.

    HMH Well is a patient portal and app solution that enables patients to access their records and appointments. The goal, according to Geoff Halstead, Connexient's chief product officer, is to integrate the location-based data from Connexient with the HMH Well app, so that patients can have their appointment location information automatically linked to their location data for automatic wayfinding while they are onsite.

    Beginning late last year, HMH began working with Connexient to provide tighter integration between the wayfinding solution and the patient portal, and to move toward a system that could be more easily deployed at any facility. HMH has been installing additional beacons in order to gain more granular location data.

    While the system has been traditionally used simply to improve patients' navigation of its health-care facilities, the firm expects in the future to be able to utilize the data to understand and improve the flow of patients and visitors, as well as patient experience at the hospital. "Phase one is to get out there, get it used," Halstead says, while phase two will be to understand the flow of people between departments.

    Connexient's MediNav system consists of software and integration to manage data about an individual's location anonymously, based on transmissions from a phone responding to a beacon, and to then provide wayfinding data to the HMH Well mobile app. A patient makes an appointment, either traditionally (via telephone) or using the HMH Well App, then visits the facility on the appointment date. The hospitals have a total of 1,368 beacons installed in the Hackensack University Medical Center alone, for a highly granular understanding of location.

    When a user's phone detects the beacon transmission. The software in the phone's MediNav application uses tri-lateralization that measures signals from BLE beacons. It also employs what Halstead describes as "a variety of sophisticated inertial navigation techniques incorporating inputs from the compass, accelerometer and the map itself." Location data calculated by the phone can then be transmitted to MediNav cloud-based server for either location-sharing features (such as a Meet Me feature) or location-based analytics.

    With integration to the My Chart system, the app knows where a patient is going and can begin providing directions to that site, displaying his or her presence in the form of a blue dot on a facility map. Prior to the solution's integration, users needed to input the name of the department or physician they were trying to reach.

    The wayfinding solution has made it easier for patients and visitors to reach their destination, Reis says, and has appeared to reduce confusion in the hallways. But in the long term, he thinks the technology can offer more advantages—not only to patients, but to health-care providers and administrators as well. Health-care personnel could utilize the system to identify if patients are on site, for instance, and to notify them that the department they will be visiting is ready for them. In the event of a delay, the system will alert patients that they can pass the time at a coffee shop, for instance, before going to their appointment.

    In the long term, HMH plans to employ GPS technology outdoors, along with the beacons, to enable the tracking of individuals' locations before they reach the hospital. The system will also monitor visitors in the parking area so they can be guided to the best parking spot, and will help them more easily locate their car after their visit has concluded.

    In addition, Reis says, the solution could further improve the patient experience by enabling visitors to view their location on digital signage throughout a facility. This could be especially of value to children who may not be checking their phones. The system would identify a particular phone in the area, link it to the patient's visit and automatically display on the sign where that individual should go next.

    For the next phase of the deployment, the company plans to collect information regarding traffic patterns, including how long it takes individuals to move from one location to another, as well as where bottlenecks occur and where visitors often take wrong turns. HMH also intends to begin analyzing data to determine if the wayfinding technology has made appointment scheduling more efficient. "We are looking at that content now to see if arrival rates are more on time," Reis says. "Anecdotally, we're seeing [fewer] patients with that lost look" as they try to find their destination.

    The Connexient solution can enable patients and visitors to connect with each other—for instance, when a patient is finished with his or her appointment and is seeking friends or family members. The app's Meet Me feature enables patients to view where those individuals are at any given time.

    According to Halstead, the technology can be used for more than just wayfinding. For example, maintenance personnel can utilize the solution to report issues such as a spill or a broken device requiring repair or inspection. "Patient experience is the first killer application," he states, "but the biggest ROI [return on investment] could be on the operations side." The system can also be used to locate individuals and assets (wheelchairs or infusion pumps, for example), provided that beacons are attached to those items, and provide navigation between them.

    Moreover, the technology could be employed to manage employees' movements and clinical workflows. Halstead says the company is agnostic when it comes to hardware. Hackensack Meridian is using beacons at the Hackensack University Medical Center, while the Jersey Shore University Medical Center is in the planning and rollout phase.

  • HealthTech: Consumerization of Care #1 Healthcare Trend for 2019

    Patient Experience and Engagement the Most Critical Issue for Both the Bottom Line and Successful Outcomes

    Two recent articles in HealthTechput a nice book end on all the coverage in 2018 of the pivotal role that Patient Experience and Web + mobile applications have assumed in not only competitiveness and the bottom line for Healthcare networks, but also successful health outcomes for patients.   

    In the first:

    David Betts, principal and national leader for customer transformation in healthcare for Deloitte Consulting, identifies the Consumerization of Care as the most important trend, ranking above Virtual Care, Interoperability, Cybersecurityand Cloud Adoption. 

    “The patient and family are firmly in the center now, and that’s driving a lot of disruption,” says Betts. Indeed, in a recent CDW survey of healthcare providers, patient engagement ranked as the most critical issue for provider organizations in the coming year. But with this focus comes shifting consumer demands.

    “We’ve seen an acceleration of consumers running out of patience with the challenges they have engaging with the system,” says Betts. As a result, “coming to the fore is the need for a much more seamless, digitally enabled, customer-oriented experience of care.”

    The second article zeroes in specifically on how valuable applications can be the key to improving patient engagement and  succeeding in the transition to value-based care.

    Perhaps most importantly of all, this trend is being driven by patients themselves as consumers of healthcare. 

    Patients Have Come to Expect a Digital Experience

    Digital health tools, apps in particular, can help providers to reach patients outside of the walls of a healthcare organization to offer further education and engagement, helping people keep up with care plans or simply stay on top of their overall health. This engagement is becoming increasingly important not only in terms of reimbursement with the move to value-based care, but also in order to help leverage a better experience for consumers.

    “We live in an experience economy, and healthcare is no different,” says Betts. “By providing the types of tools customers expect in order to interact with their health systems, organizations can differentiate themselves. Experience matters — it matters to the bottom line.”

    Healthcare consumers are taking notice, with 92 percent saying that improving customer experience should be a “top strategic priority” for medical providers in the next year, according to a July survey from Black Book Market Research. This is a spike from just 71 percent in 2017.

    Moreover, 90 percent of patients in the survey reported that they don’t feel obligated to continue returning to providers that don’t provide a satisfactory digital experience.

    · 92 percent [of healthcare consumers] say that improving customer experience should be a “top strategic priority” for medical providers in the next year

    · 90 percent of patients in the survey reported that they don’t feel obligated to continue returning to providers that don’t provide a satisfactory digital experience.

    Source: Black Book Market Research July 2018 Survey

    With these kinds of data points, we see the rising tide of Digital Wayfinding as a key tool for Patient Experience becoming a tidal wave in 2019!

  • Journal Sentinal Article About MediNav at Froedtert Hospital

    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."

    Read the Full Article on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal Web Site

  • Waze for Work? Navigation Apps come to Mazelike Offices

    The Future of Everything – The Future of Work podcast

    Introduction:

    Technology maybe revolutionizing the hiring process, but it’s also changing our workplace. Sometimes, getting your foot in the door is the easy part. Finding your way at work can be a lot more challenging. Just a few decades ago, open offices came into play. They’re supposed to be break down walls and hierarchies and inspire collaboration. Plus, you could see where everyone was all the time. But those assigned open office desks are giving way to unassigned desks, quiet booths and community rooms where employees work at different times a day. At the same time, some offices are getting bigger, a lot bigger. Well, if you’ve ever walked in circles looking for a conference room or even the bathroom, listen up, tech start-ups have developed wayfinding apps to spare workers from getting lost at work, but there are some trade-offs like privacy.

    WSJ reporter, Sara Castellanos has more…

    SC: In hospitals, a few minutes can mean the difference between life and death. Doctors and nurses don’t want to waste that time walking around maze like corridors getting lost.

    Take the Jersey Shore University Medical Center, it’s huge! It covers about 3 million square feet. For Doctors like Faras Hajam (FH), a resident physician, that means walking 2 – 3 miles every day.

    FH: Each building has its own routes and directions. So, you might get lost easily.

    SC: When you first came here, did you get lost?

    FH: Yes, it happened so many times. So, I was finding it difficult for the first few months with finding my way, especially for outpatient settings. It happened so many times they called me asking where I was when I was struggling to figure out which elevator I should take.

    SC: But, Dr. Hajam is not getting lost anymore. A few months ago, a patient got sick in a wing of the hospital he’d never been to.

    FH: I was on the other side of the hospital and I have to be there and I’ve never been to this place.

    SC: Wow, and you were there in 3 minutes?

    FH: Yes, I was the first one to arrive.

    SC: That’s because Dr. Hajam was using an app called MediNav. It’s like Google Maps, but for hospitals. So, you were literally holding your phone up and running through the hallways?

    FH: Right, the place I was telling you about is right there, so without using the app it would be hard to find.

    SC: The hospital rolled out MediNav last year, and it’s not just for doctors and nurses. Patients and visitors use it too.  And there are staff workers like Ali Arfa (AA), Director of Operations for Parking Services on hand to help them.

    AA: This is the atrium where we are standing – this calibrates the app “Go straight for 30 feet and then turn right” Right there, you could’ve gotten very lost and ended up in the lunch room.

    SC: It looks like there was a fork in the road there. The app doesn’t just work for rooms, it also let’s doctors and other hospital staff search for equipment like the nearest wheelchair, gurney or iv pump.

    App “Go straight for 25 feet and turn left”

    SC: The MediNav app was created by a start-up called CONNEXIENT.

    MG: I’m Mark Green, CEO of Connexient.

    SC: The app uses small battery powered radio transmitters or beacons which transmit signals over Bluetooth from the hospital worker’s phone.

    MG: So, it’s actually the phone, the mobile device that’s doing all of the calculations. I’m taking advantage of the signal it receives from those beacons, as well as some of the sensors on the phone such as the compass and it’s able to position someone between 2 – 4 feet of accuracy.

    SC: Connexient is one of several vendors making this type of indoor navigation technology. Workers in sprawling office campuses in companies as diverse as Exxon Mobil, Aruba Networks, HP Enterprise and software maker “VMware” are using them.
    Employers say these apps help employees find everything from conference rooms, to restrooms and even the best routes to take to get there.
    Some apps have an accessibility feature that can be helpful for people with mobility issues and need to avoid stairs.
    And, the companies say there are clear security benefits for both employers and employees – they could use a worker’s location data during an emergency like a fire or shooting.
    And the apps can also identify if a worker has gone where they don’t have security clearance.

    SA (lawyer): What if they’re organizing with their labor union or meeting with a labor leader? That kind of tracking would be impermissible.

     

    Samantha Atari is a lawyer at Kramer Loven. She advises on privacy and cybersecurity. She says that exposing that data can violate worker protections and could result in some very embarrassing situations.

    SA: You could think of scenarios where it could be very damaging. So, one could imagine a situation where 2 employees are carrying on an amorous relationship but are married and would not want anyone to know they’re meeting on every break at the same location day after day week after week for years. That information could get breached and that would have implications on their home lives… their personal lives.

    SC: And maybe not just their personal lives.; In recent months, a few companies have fired their CEOs for inappropriate workplace relationships.

    So far, the companies say they are not mandating that employees use these apps and they only track workers when they’re on company property, but there’s no federal law that prevents employers from gathering and analyzing worker location data.

    AS: But, the trove of data can be ripe for cyberattacks. Employees are right to be concerned, as they should be. What are the ramifications if this data is exposed?

    SC: Hospital operators that run Jersey Shore University Medical Center (Hackensack Meridian Health) say data generated from the MediNav app is anonymous and cannot be tied to a specific worker, even if the data is breached.

    And, Dr. Hajam says he is not concerned about data privacy issues. Some listeners and readers might wonder – you’re using this location tracking app…

    FH: I don’t think it’s going to be a problem… it should be ok.

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