It can be daunting for patients and visitors to find their way through a hospital’s campus. Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., is tackling this problem by offering a downloadable, indoor, mobile GPS system to help people reach their destinations.
Overlook, which is part of five-hospital regional Atlantic Health System in northern New Jersey, devised its “Take Me There — Overlook” app after surveying patients and evaluating its physical plant, says Gerard Durney, director of operations.“No one wants to be in the hospital. Patients are frightened and many times in pain, and their family and friends are concerned. If we don’t make it easier [for people to find their way around], anxiety can build,” he says.
The process was a "huge undertaking,” Durney says. “You have to determine where users will go and then test the app repeatedly. If it’s not accurate, people won’t use it.”
For instance, at Overlook, people walk in from the lobby directly to the fourth floor, which can be very disorienting. So, the app needed to tell users that “you’re now on the fourth floor,” Durney says.
The app includes some advanced features such as a parking planner that sends users to the best spot based on their appointment location at the hospital and returns them to that same parking structure. The hospital is refining this feature further so that, sometime this year, the app will return each user to the exact location of his or her car.
Overlook is still assessing how many visitors are using the app since it launched in late September, but the hospital does know that about 6 percent of downloaders are using it daily and doing so about 2.5 times a day, Durney says.
For people who don’t use mobile apps, the hospital also has kiosks throughout the facility that will provide directions.