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.”
Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center is adding indoor navigation to its patient app, dubbed MyRush.
MyRush is powered by MyChart, Epic's patient portal system. Through the app, patients can access information such as lab results and immunization history, along with having the option to schedule future appointments from their mobile device.
Rush is now adding to the app by integrating indoor navigation features from patient engagement company Connexient. Connexient's MediNav tool provides patients with turn-by-turn navigation within the hospital.
"Healthcare consumers today … expect convenience and digital assistance throughout their patient journey," said Shafiq Rab, MD, CIO of Rush. "By weaving together indoor navigation and location services with MyChart's capabilities, we are providing the patient with the easy to use tools to not only find their way to appointments, but to be their own advocates upon arrival."
Read the Article on Beckers:
It's exciting to see the mainstream technology media start to pick up on the revolution of Digital Wayfinding and "Indoor GPS" in Healthcare. One sign of this is that Gartner recently named Connexient as a "Cool Vendor" in their recently published report on Wayfinding in Location Services.
Gartner Analyst, Tim Zimmerman advises Infrastructure & Operation leaders “should evaluate new and innovative technologies that don’t require any interaction with the enterprise infrastructure, while providing navigational guidance to anyone that needs to get to his or her destination. The ability to integrate different location services, provides infrastructure flexibility, and the hands-free implementation capabilities of managed services or expertise of professional service offerings makes it easier for organizations to deploy wayfinding solutions.”
In two recent Hype Cycle reports, Gartner analysts also highlighted how what they call "experiential wayfinding" is becoming a critical tool for CIOs in two key areas:
Mark Gilbert, Gartner healthcare technology analyst, writes:
“Based on inquiry calls, experiential wayfinding adoption is increasing. Health Delivery Organizations (HDOs) primarily use experiential wayfinding as a means to create a consumer-centric patient experience. For visionaries, experiential wayfinding is envisioned as an integral component of a consumer and patient engagement strategy and as an on ramp to the real-time health system.
Wayfinding has evolved to encompass an ecosystem of technologies that combine in a way that assists a patient to conveniently locate and navigate the healthcare provider facility and space. Experiential wayfinding helps patients navigate an episode of care or navigate their health journey. Wayfinding of all forms is becoming a requirement as the complexity of care delivery continues in increase."
Connexient was born from a simple idea that 'Indoor GPS' would finally truly solve one of the major problems for Patient Experience: wayfinding. We have been working with our clients over the last several years and are now implementing many new models for how - leveraging our SDK - MediNav can be integrated with EHR platforms and Enteprise applications to drive innovative new Patient Experience models for location-based e-checkins and concierge services.
But as simple and clear as the idea of "Indoor GPS for Patients" was, Connexient has also been driven by a vision that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Just as with GPS and navigation outdoors, there are a myriad of ways in which these technologies can be used.
Gartner's new paradigm of "The Real Time Health System" provides an elegant and powerful framework for thinking about this. One area in which our vision differs from Gartner is in the breadth of the impact of Enterprise Digital Wayfinding and Navigation Services. Whereas they frame it narrowly - as "Experiential Wayfinding" - what our market experience has shown us is that patients and visitors are just the tip of the iceberg. When you start to dig, you find all kinds of negative impacts and friction on the operational effiency, costs and revenues from the same underlying problem of the complexity and size of healthcare facilties, campuses and networks.
This is why our clients are increasingly seeing Connexient's MediNav as new "Navigation Services Layer" in the IT stack that will drive compelling new use cases and operational efficiency through integrations with Enterprise applications in areas such as patient engagement, asset tracking, facility management, safety and security, and more.
Many of the high value 'profiles' that Gartner analyzes would be greatly positively impacted by Digital Wayfinding and Enterprise Navigation Services. Here are few examples.
All of these technologies today use maps that are incomplete and innacurate, and lack navigation services. And their benefits and ROI would be greatly increased - in some cases transformed - by leveraging navigation-quality maps and navigation services. Connexient's focus is to work together with our clients to ensure that all of these benefits for the 'real world' components of the Real Time Health System are realized over time, starting first with Experiential Wayfinding. As we do that, the problem we are solving is not so much 'wayfinding' as the dynamic coordination people, equipment, vehicles - and one day soon robots.
A trip to the hospital is rarely a pleasant experience, whether you're paying a visit to a sick relative or undergoing a medical procedure yourself. But adding to the health-related anxiety, you often have the hassle of figuring out how to get where you're supposed to go. Facilities that sprawl across multiple buildings, with countless elevator banks, endless mazes of hallways, and cryptic signage, is the norm at many hospitals. Just getting to the right place at the right time feels like a feat.
"You're typically in a high state of anxiety in a hospital. There's a study that showed that 30 to 40 percent of patients and visitors get lost at the hospital," said Mark Green, chief executive and co-founder of Connexient. "We're trying to improve the patient experience with indoor navigation."
He's referring to the New York City-based company's MediNav system, navigational technology built into hospital apps and on-site kiosks that provide detailed indoor maps of medical facilities for patients and staff. Think of it as Waze or Google Maps integrated directly into hospitals' own apps.
As soon as a patient parks her car at the parking garage, the app asks her where she wants to go, such as the cardiology department. It then shows the most direct route, guiding the way with a stream of blue dots, vocal prompts, and visual landmarks. Bluetooth beacons around the hospital help pinpoint the location of each user to within a couple of meters, rerouting them if they take a wrong turn. And when the patient is finished with her appointment, the app will guide her right back to her car.
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.