Gozio and GHS partner on an app to help people navigate the confusing world of hospital campuses
Nov 07, 2018 09:24AM
By Kathleen Maris
By Vincent Harris
GPS navigation is a great thing. The idea of being able to type in an address on your phone and get pinpoint directions to your destination has become so commonplace that we take it for granted now. But have you ever thought about what happens when you reach your destination, especially if you’re headed to one room in a large, byzantine office complex? That’s the point at which your smartphone often becomes dumb.
And it’s difficult to imagine a better place for an internal navigation assist than a medical facility like a hospital. Given that hospitals and other large-scale healthcare centers often expand by building on to existing structures, the hallways and corridors can be confusing to patients who are probably already on edge in the first place. That’s an issue that Greenville Health System is currently working to solve, with considerable help from a company called Gozio Health.
GHS recently put out a press release announcing that they’d chosen Gozio to help the Upstate healthcare company develop “a mobile wayfinding platform that provides step-by-step directions to any destination within the health system.”
In layman’s terms, Gozio and GHS are developing a smartphone app that will guide patients from their parking space to their destination, whether it’s a consultation with their physician, an X-ray, or a surgical procedure.
“What this is going to allow us to do is give an app to all of our patients within the Upstate and beyond, the primary function of which is that they can navigate through any of our facilities,” says GHS Director of Integration and Development Daniel Leonard.
“So at our hospitals, they’ll actually be able to get indoor navigation,” Leonard adds. “If you come to the front door at Greenville Memorial Hospital, you’ll be given directions to go to the pharmacy or the lab or to a nursing unit if you’re visiting a patient.”
But the as-yet-unnamed downloadable app, which Leonard says will likely be released to app stores next March or April after development and testing, won’t just be about navigation.
“It’s also a framework that allows us to add other widgets and applications that will help us engage with our patients,” he says. “We’ll be linking our MyChart app so that patients can pay their bill and schedule other appointments, and we’ll also be able to show urgent care wait times. It’s what we see as a differentiator between us and others within the marketplace.”
Leonard says that GHS chose Gozio because they’d had a great deal of success launching similar apps for hospitals in Georgia. In fact, the CEO of Gozio, Joshua Titus, says they’re currently under contract with more than 50 different healthcare locations across the state.
Titus also explained how the process of mapping a hospital or other medical facility typically works.
“We have robots that we send into a hospital, and we feed CAD-file maps that the hospital provides us into the robots,” he says. “We send them inch-by-inch through the building, and they will map that building. While they’re doing that, they’ll also be soaking up all the wi-fi, Bluetooth, magnetic data the building has.”
The cutting-edge technology that Gozio uses was patented last year, and Titus says that what they’re doing now was part of a strategy to take decades of engineering experience and solve a real-world problem.
“Back in 2012, it dawned on us that smartphones were becoming our problem-solving companions,” he says. “We looked at the apps that we ourselves were using like Google Maps, and the one thread was that they all stopped at the front door. Using what we knew about the guts of modern smartphones and the sensors that were going into them, we sat down and figured out some core technology so that the phone could figure out where it is when it’s indoors to within about four feet.”
Once Gozio had developed that navigation technology, they quickly thought of an industry that could use it.
“We thought about hospitals and healthcare facilities because these places are huge and constantly growing, and people who are already stressed are getting lost all the time,” Titus says. “We thought, ‘Let’s have that be our legacy: Helping people who are probably having a pretty crappy day otherwise.”