IoT Wayfinding Signals All the Right Turns for Hospital Visitors

In healthcare campuses across the US, IoT sensors and mapping technology are turning into crowd pleasers, outperforming old-school maps. Patients guided by a mobile phone and app with turn-by-turn directions are quickly locating doctor offices, treatment centers, and cafeterias in sprawling health complexes.


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Image credit: Orlando VA Medical Center

Maneuvering through 1.2 million square feet, or a space about the size of Ellis Island, is a daunting task—especially when you or someone you love is sick. That’s the size of the Orlando VA Medical Center, located on a 65-acre campus in Orange County, Florida. The expansive, multi-building campus is not uncommon, as large-scale healthcare campuses are mushrooming across the United States.  

Many of these sites are like small cities and difficult to navigate. Until recently, signage and paper-based maps guided visitors to their destinations, but new mobile apps are lighting up routes and proving themselves to be much more effective for getting people from point A to point B. With friendly interfaces and the help of IoT sensors and mapping technology, patients are arriving at their appointments on time and stress free.

Wi-Fi Network Unlocks IoT Potential at Orlando VA Medical Center

Soon after opening in 2015, staff at the Orlando VA Medical Center noticed an unexpected high rate of late appointments and missed appointments. Feedback from visiting veterans and their families told stories of being lost and difficulties finding their way through the expansive buildings.

To change that experience, VA executives decided to add easy navigation tools to its Veteran Experience mobile app. Patients and guests would have maps and turn-by-turn directions on their mobile phones to help them find their way around the campus. The tech team chose the mapping platform Jibestream from Inpixon, integrated with the Juniper Mist wireless platform. With a commitment to a Wi-Fi upgrade, Orlando VA would gain both high-performance Wi-Fi and navigation tools.

Mist’s unique wireless platform offered IoT-ready and virtual Bluetooth LE-enabled access points that readily connected to the Inpixon mapping technology and IoT sensors. With the Mist and Inpixon combo, hospital guests can rely on blue-dot indoor wayfaring to find their way to diagnostic services, outpatient clinics, administrative services, and the cafeteria. Guests can typically pinpoint locations within 1- to 3-meters in seconds, and the overall app performance is earning rave reviews.

Beyond helping guests reach their destinations, Mist’s virtual beacon technology also sends visitors and patients useful information, such as the cafeteria’s daily menu or reminders about flu shots or mammograms. Orlando VA is also tapping into the AP’s IoT ports and open APIs to support additional patient needs. In the community living center for assisted living, these ports connect with automated door locks to keep patients who have a habit of roaming outside the dementia ward safely inside the facility.

To reduce flight risks, residents wear a hypo-allergenic bracelet with embedded sensors, and when patients approach an exit, the Mist system can lock the doors. Mist also sends a message to nurses of the patient’s exact location so they can come and assist. All this is done by accessing the APIs and connecting the IoT port on the Mist APs to the door locks. The security assist uses the same infrastructure built for Wi-Fi and location services.

Looking ahead, this infrastructure and IoT capabilities can help staff locate critical assets in the hospital. Staff will be able to find anything from infusion pumps and wheelchairs to vacuums to ensure a positive experience for guests.

Kaleida Health Enhances Mobile App with Navigation

Healthcare centers elsewhere in Florida and in New York have added Inpixon’s wayfaring solution. In New York State, Kaleida Health faced a set of challenges similar to Orlando VA and like the Orlando VA, chose IoT and mapping technology to make the multi-building campus easier to navigate. Kaleida Health was simultaneously looking for smart, digital services that would help raise its customer experience scores.  Adding an intelligent wayfinding solution to its existing MyKaleida mobile app became a top goal.

The team selected Inpixon mapping technology for its interoperability with the MyKaleida mobile app and its direct SDK path for Web, iOS, and Android development. With the newest release, MyKaleida app users have indoor maps, turn-by-turn directions, and blue dot wayfinding to help them reach their destinations within the facilities. Future improvements will provide much needed employee support and will highlight using IoT and sensors to track assets for surgical suites, wheelchairs, and other equipment. 

Map of healthcare center shown on mobile device

Image credit: Inpixon

For the channel, wayfinding technologies wrap nicely with Wi-Fi, location-based services, and even contact tracing. The encouraging news of the vaccine rollout is leading schools, retailers, healthcare organizations, and others to add smart, innovative digital services. They are looking at these types of services to help revitalize spaces and welcome back a public eager to be out and about.

  • Learn more about Mist’s IoT and vBLE-enabled APs.
  • Understand the different types of Inpixon sensors and use cases.
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