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The Future Of Wayfinding Is NOW

Phones with Mazemap's digital wayfinding maps and a banner says "the future of wayfinding"
Digital wayfinding is already a norm, and is now becoming one inside of complex spaces like hospitals, universities, and headquarters

Nancy’s son began having trouble breathing and it’s getting worse. She’s new in town, and beyond the great schools and an exciting new chapter in her career, she loved that their new home was located only ten minutes from a major hospital. Her son’s breathing continues to get more shallow as they race toward the hospital. “There it is!”, she yells seeing the red emergency sign. She quickly parks, checks her son in, and once cared for it is determined he is suffering from a spontaneous pneumothorax, aka collapsed lung. The surgical team goes to work, reinflating the lung, and Nancy’s son is scheduled to be moved to an inpatient room.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nancy hasn’t been able to be next to her son’s side during this process. She’s worried about him, is currently missing an important meeting at her new job, and isn’t sure what her new employer’s healthcare insurance will cover with surgery and an inpatient stay. Nancy is stressed, but she receives the good news that her son is doing well. She also receives a text with a link that gives her turn-by-turn directions to her son’s room. And just like that, Nancy goes from a moment where life is spiraling out of control to a sense of hope and mission that her son is now recovering and she knows exactly where to find him.

This isn’t an atypical experience for patients and visitors at a hospital, especially those in crisis. It’s tense moments filled with large questions and a hospital staff that is doing its best to manage and care for large amounts of people. What is atypical is the text message, which served as a sense of hope and direction for Nancy to be reunited with her son. This is the future of wayfinding, and its implications aren’t just people finding their way to a room, but a higher level of patient experience, millions of dollars in time savings, and a revolutionized healthcare system. The future of wayfinding empowers patients, visitors, and hospital staff to confidently find their way through complex environments by using not signs, monitors, or staff members, but the use of their own personal devices.

The good news is that that future is already happening right now in hospitals, universities, and corporate headquarters across the world. Our wayfinding specialists at PLANIT Studios have partnered with Mazemap to deliver the future of wayfinding… now. Here’s how we’re doing it.

person holding smartphone
The next great wayfinding device is already in your hands

The best wayfinding device? Your smartphone.

According to the Pew Research Center’s 2018 Global Survey 76% of adults own a smartphone. Zoom in on those ranging from 18-34 in the U.S. and that number jumps to 95%. Of those users over three-quarters of them already use navigation apps, with Google Maps leading the pack by an absurd number (+55% above second place). These numbers are more than astonishing, they lead Mazemap’s design efforts as they built their wayfinding software. It’s “Google Maps for complex interior environments.” It’s an innovative technology that feels familiar, which means faster user adoption rates and massive upside in the short and long term.

The software is new, yet familiar, but it’s also making monumental strides for hospitals and universities. Take St. Olav’s for example, who reduced missed appointments by 31% to only 2% in one year, saving over $1.5M annually. For the first time ever patients, visitors, and staff are becoming empowered wayfinders by using their personal devices to navigate complex environments. Now everyone can locate where they are and where they are going, whether it is in a room, office, department, cafeteria, or restroom. While Google Maps gets you to a building, hospital, or campus, PLANIT powered by Mazemap shows you where to park, the optimal path to your appointment or meeting, without ever getting lost or asking for directions.

image collage of popular internet browsers and Google and Apple app store icons
Access directions to appointments on any browser or device without any downloads

No to native apps means yes to accessibility

Great wayfinding is measured in time. More patients arrive on time, so more doctors see more patients, and more patients leave with positive experiences, which translates to more times they will return to that hospital when in need of care. And with all the perks of apps, time is not one of them. Because Mazemap is web-based it can be easily accessed on any browser or device with just the tap of a button (or oftentimes bitlink).

Even better, the web-based app can be updated worldwide anytime from anywhere. Patients and visitors never have to worry about app updates because every time Mazemap is loaded you’re getting the latest and greatest. Again, this allows up-to-date, clear communication with patients even in the midst of hospital renovations and other changes that may be occurring the day of an appointment. Not only are updates published instantaneously, but patients receive optimal route directions with time/distance estimates thanks to expert wayfinding navigation via PLANIT Studios.

examples of blue dot navigation on Mazemap
Blue dot capabilities provides live turn-by-turn directions

Blue dot and asset tracking

In our initial story, you learned Nancy received a message providing her directions to her son’s inpatient room. What you didn’t know is that Nancy isn’t great with technology. If she had the map of the hospital she would find her son’s room eventually, but because of blue dot capabilities, she was able to see herself moving along the directional path until she saw her son’s face. Using either installed beacons or Cisco DNA Spaces allow patients to chart their location within spaces live as they head toward their appointment or, in Nancy’s case, her loved one’s room.

Wayfinding isn’t all about people. An enormous amount of hospital equipment goes missing each year leaving healthcare system with hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. With asset tracking (small) beacons can be applied to expensive equipment such as beds, IV stations, and much more to mitigate equipment and financial loss, resulting savings and higher satisfaction rates among staff.

Mockup of Mazemap text reminder on iPhone
Patients received reminders with a link for directions to their appointment

Reminders and messaging integrations

St. Olavs saved $1.5M annually after implementing Mazemap, but these results didn’t come from simply purchasing the software. After floorplans were onboarded the new wayfinding tool was integrated with new and existing systems and processes, particularly associated with scheduling and facilities. It’s no longer a secret that appointment reminders are essential to optimize the patient and staff experiences, saving time and money each day.

Throw parking and turn-by-turn directions into the mix and savings begin to multiply, raising patient satisfaction, and labeling organizations not just innovative, but patient-focused. These reminders are short and include a navigational link easily accessed through mobile, tablet, or desktop browsers. Oh, and this experience is able to be fully branded, maximizing both wayfinding and the brand.

A little boy is shown, one of those Mazemap's interface has been designed for
Mazemap is designed to be accessible to anyone

Designed for all

Mazemap can be accessed from any device and is always up-to-date, but there’s even more. Those with physical impairments can select an option to avoid stairs, automatically mapping the fastest, most accessible route to their destination. Because its user interface was inspired by Google Maps everything from basic to advanced functions are sure to be user-friendly for tech-savvy users and those who are not.

With system integrations, most users will have their specific directions populate on their screen. But, if someone needs to find an office, food/dining, or restrooms without a link they only need to type it into the search bar. As they type Mazemap’s technology scrubs the highly detailed plans for any points of interest matching the request, providing live results only a tap or click away. You can also book and schedule meeting rooms (if applicable), which update live on the maps whenever available or booked.

Are you looking to position your organization for growth in the next decade? Our innovative team of designers and landscape architects specialize in solving problems to elevate your audience’s experience by designing and creating loyal customers that become lifetime ambassadors.

Whether you are part of a large healthcare system, university campus, or small business we would be honored to bring our creativity and expertise to your organization and the spaces your customers live. Learn more about PLANIT Studios and schedule a free consultation click here or call (614) 505-0375.


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