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Indoor Navigation & Tracking in the Healthcare Sector

Indoor Navigation and Indoor Positioning in Hospitals for Staff and Patients

Hospitals and clinical centers are eager to offer their patients the best possible service. After all it supports recovery when patients are comfortable during their stays. And not least, happy patients contribute to the good reputation of a hospital. Of course, good medical care has absolute priority. But besides that, a lot can be done for the quality of stay. For example, a patient app helps navigating in the building and facilitates accessing services.

The possible applications go far beyond that. Wi-Fi, beacons and co. help optimizing processes: Mobile medical equipment can be found quicker, staff is being relieved, hygiene rules controlled, itineraries analyzed, appointments coordinated and costs reduced.

Features for the Healthcare Sector

Services for patients: How can patients profit from indoor navigation in hospitals?

Clinical centers in most cases are complex buildings with several floor levels, many entrances and exits and confusing corridors. Most people who enter a hospital are in an exceptional situation and want to reach their destination as fast and as easy as possible. This could be for example the emergency room, the cafeteria, a treatment room or a patient room situated on a certain medical station.

An App for Patients Facilitates Orientation in the Hospital

Patient app offers orientation and indoor navigation in the hospital

An app for patients meets these requirements. In a clear 2D or 3D map the user can see where he is now and navigate to a certain place step by step – barrier free, if desired. An integrated calendar reminds him of treatment appointments in time and shows the way there. When an appointment is postponed, a message is being sent – this way, everyone’s waiting time becomes shorter. Additionally, all services which a hospital offers can be integrated. For example the selection of meals, the booking of TV and phone cards shopping at the hospital store etc. The growing sector of medical tourism can profit from these applications as well, since they facilitate orientation in foreign environments. Patients from abroad might for example find a "sign translator" useful, which translates signs in a building into their mother language.

Indoor Tracking of Objects and People

Indoor Tracking in the hospital

infsoft’s solutions follow the internet of things (IoT) approach. More and more things are interconnected and facilitate people’s work. Tracking mobile equipment, for example medical equipment and hospital beds is very easy and is already being used in practice. A software immediately displays the position. If an object leaves a defined area (geofencing), a message is sent. It is also possible to automatically privilege hospital beds at lifts, and manual priority switching becomes redundant. The technical implementation is really easy: The object is tagged with Wi-Fi tag or a Bluetooth beacon – which are both relatively cheap.

Process Optimization in the Healthcare Sector

Many hospitals are under economic pressure. Time, staff and costs must be economized, but the quality of patient services must not deteriorate. Automatization and digitalization could help. An indoor navigation system for hospitals can basically be integrated into third party systems, for example hospital information systems. Possible applications are:

  • coordination of appointments and waiting times leading to saving of time for doctors and patients
  • monitoring of patients especially in need of care
  • indoor navigation for patients and visitors
  • notification of the staff when goods are delivered, connected to the ERP system
  • transmission of patient data across several medical stations, for example via a bracelet
  • integration of institutions which transfer patients
  • control of hygiene regulations
  • relief of triage nurses in the emergency room

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Examples of Use:

Technical Implementation

The existing technical infrastructure can directly be used in many cases. Depending on the requirement, the operator choses a client-based (app is necessary, positioning via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth beacons and sensor fusion, including a back channel) or a server-based solution (no app required; positioning via infsoft Locator Nodes; detection of Wi-Fi devices, Bluetooth beacons, Ultra-wideband or RFID modules; no back channel available). High-precision solutions with low latencies can be implemented on the basis of Ultra-wideband (UWB). The use of RFID is suitable for a point-specific object identification with high unit numbers.

Indoor navigation software by infsoft can be implemented in existing applications, websites and hospital information systems. The accuracy is – depending on the technical realization – up to ten centimeters or less.

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