NIH taps Connexient for hospital wayfinding app

By Heather Mack
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New York-based indoor mapping and navigation company Connexient announced the launch of its app with the National Institute of Health Clinical Center (NIHCC) in Bethesda, Maryland. The app, called Take Me There, uses Connexient’s existing MediNav digital wayfinder, providing indoor GPS to, through and around the facilities, and links up to existing apps to provide information about nearby locations.
 
Take Me There is powered by Bluetooth LE Beacon technology, which emits radio transmissions between the phone and installed fixed locations. It is available on iOs and Android. A web version is also integrated into the NIHCC site, can be used at any point to help patients, visitors and staff find their way efficiently.
 
All of the NIHCC departments, clinics and 40,000 staff members are searchable in the app. Users are guided with a blue dot through the system, and can also plan out visits and meetings ahead of time with the website.
 
“I could be at home and have an upcoming appointment, and I could put in a destination inside NIHCC with a room number. The app will recognize that you
are at home, then launch [Google Maps] to take you from there to the closest parking garage,” Mark Green, CEO of Connexient told MobiHealthNews.
 
The app offers turn-by-turn indoor navigation with reliable indoor position accuracy of one to two meters, navigation cues, visual landmark references and notifications if the user is going off-route. The parking feature guides users where to park based on their appointment location inside the facility, then saves the spot in the app so they can find the car when they are finished. The "All Screens Solution" feature ensures patients and visitors can access information from any platform, and the app also enables integration of maps and navigation into existing mobile and web apps.  

The NIHCC identified the need for such an app about a year ago, and put out requests for proposals from about 20 or 30 vendors. The institution is the main clinical research campus of the NIH and has a specialized design wherein patient care centers are in close proximity to research laboratories. Unsurprisingly, navigating the NIHCC can be a challenge for patients, staff and visitors. The institution is the world’s largest hospital devoted entirely to clinical research, and sprawls 322 acres.
 
“A big pain point for the NIHCC is it’s almost four million square feet,” said Green. “It’s not just patients and visitors who need help – staff are always getting lost.”