Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (CWH) NHS FT has launched a unique indoor way-finder app for hospitals, to help patients and their families navigate their way around more easily. This is thought to reduce staff time spent giving directions, help ensure patients arrive on time for appointments, reduce stress, and minimise traffic in the corridors. According to research, 87% of patients ask for directions when they go to a hospital or other public health facilities, and 30% of first-time visitors get lost.
The new app forms part of the CW Innovation programme - a joint initiative between CWH and its charity CW+ - to ‘test and scale’ innovations and digital systems, designed to improve patient care and experience.
Vanessa Sloane, Deputy Chief Nurse at CWH, said: "The pilot project has already shown that the app reduces frustration for staff and visitors alike. It helps reduce the anxiety of patients and visitors trying to find their way in the hospital, which previously required contact with multiple different staff. Overall, we’ve seen that the app helps save resources, improve patient outcomes, and enhances the entire hospital experience for patients and their families.”
The new system will allow those visiting CWH to navigate their way from outside all the way to specific locations they need, whether that’s a bed on a ward, a consulting room, the café, or the pharmacy. The app includes points of interest such as offices, cafeterias, and more information about the trust’s collection of over 2,000 works of art and digital installations, aimed at transforming the hospital environment for patients, families, volunteers and staff.
The app uses a system of BLE Beacons, Wi-Fi signals, and the Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint the person’s location, giving them real-time directions, both spoken and visual, to allow them to navigate through the hospital, both horizontally and vertically.
Personalised Navigation Services, are another feature on the app, which allows people with disabilities to receive navigation instructions that suit their needs. This may mean directing them to lifts rather than staircases, for example.