Carmel Medical Center: The first hospital in Israel to provide a step-by-step indoor navigation application
March 4, 2014 – Haifa, Israel — Navigation technology has entered the building. Carmel Hospital and Clalit Health Services have announced a cutting-edge technological development: an indoor turn-by-turn navigation and positioning system. The app, called WayfindR was developed by SPREO and M.L. Indoor Navigation Systems. Download the mobile app for Android and iOS, and your smartphone guides you from your home to the exact location of the emergency room, treatment room, cafeteria, ATM… any Point of Interest (POI) you seek.
Dr. Chen Shapira, CEO of Carmel Hospital, said “there is no doubt that we are talking about a breakthrough in the service provided to patients and visitors [of the hospital]. Navigation to their exact destination will save patients precious time while reducing confusion and stress concerning orientation within the hospital.”
If you have frequented a hospital, it is safe to say that you have probably bumped into a patient or visitor that appeared lost or in the wrong corridor. In studies conducted globally, it was concluded that a comprehensive solution to Wayfinding has not yet been adequately developed. The studies revealed that complicated facilities, long hallways, and intricate signs add unnecessary and avoidable stress to hospital visits; the solution is to offer patients and visitors an easy tool to navigate quickly and easily to their desired destination, while accommodating all types of visitors. The study also showed that 25% of visitors in hospitals turn to hospital staff for direction in spite of the existing signage.
Users can even deploy the application at home and activate directions to the point of interest from home. The app automatically connects to an existing GPS application for the street route and then automatically switches back to the indoor navigation app once the user arrives at the hospital.
Dr. Vered Shobdorin, Director of Clalit’s Innovations Department remarked, “In order to provide a fast, accessible and functional solution we teamed up with M. L Indoor Navigation Systems (www.spreo.co) and created a unique technology as an answer. WayfindR takes advantage of existing infrastructure along with smart phone sensors to accurately solve the problem of indoor location and positioning from home to the final destination with in the hospital.”
Keren Merom, Director of Services at Carmel Medical Center added, “The indoor navigation application helps to avoid inefficiencies like lateness to tests and treatments. Doctors and hospital staff frequently deal with patients running late to appointments because of difficulties navigating throughout the hospital. The application will allow for better service and allow patients and visitors to feel safer and more secure with the hospital’s services.”
In the indoor navigation app for hospitals, WayfindR, the user types the name of the desired destination into the search bar, and the application guides the user to his/her point of interest with 1-meter accuracy. The navigation module integrates all available routes (hallways, stairs, elevators) into an optimized multi-floor set of step-by-step directions for the user. The interactive application highlights Points of Interest on the map when the user walks by them in real time. WayfindR also allows for destination search via keywords and provides handicapped-accessible routes. Users are able to engage with social media and send their exact location to friends in a similar fashion to Facebook location check-ins. There is voice-activated navigation as well, in which users can listen to the directions as they navigate. The mobile app is current available in four languages: English, Hebrew, Arabic and Russian. The first version of the WayfindR indoor navigation mobile app is available on Android phones, and will be available on all iOS devices very soon.
Users can find further information about points of interest, including departments, visiting hours and treatments by clicking on items on the map. In addition, patients who are hospitalized are able to send their location to family members and friends via e-mail, who can open it on their devices and start navigating right away. WayfindR also provides QR code based POI navigation. Upon scanning the QR code of the desired destination, the app initiates the navigation process.
Carmel Medical Center has chosen to be the first hospital in Israel, and one of few venues in the world to offer this technology. In the coming days the technology will be available to the public