Challenges and Chances in Healthcare – Part 1: Indoor Navigation

Silvia Pichler, 

This post originally appeared as a guest post on Jibestream and has been reproduced here with express permission

Healthcare: Indoor Mapping and Navigation

Indoor Mapping and Indoor Positioning, commonly referred to as “indoor GPS”, has found its way into various industries, ranging from healthcare institutions and transportation hubs to corporate campuses, shopping malls, and more. These technologies are already reshaping the way we interact with indoor environments by providing the visualization of spatial data in the context of a map to offer navigational assistance in addition to a broad range of location based services, including Asset Tracking and Analytics.

The market dynamic in healthcare is shifting and is creating a series of challenges hospitals must overcome. What are these obstacles and how can hospital systems address patient’s evolving needs and expectations?

Challenge: Lack of Indoor Navigation

Most hospitals are chronically overcrowded and personnel overburdened with their workload, while patients and visitors struggle to find their way. It is not uncommon for hospital patients and visitors to find themselves having difficulties navigating an increasingly complex healthcare system in search of a room. Signage can be sparse and often uses medical terminology a patient or visitor may not understand, and without additional instructions, may not  provide enough information.  

Indoor Hospital Navigation signage

Sparse signage at hospitals

Planned hospital visits are often tied to appointments, which are scheduled back-to-back to meet physicians’ tight schedules where a small delay can have a large impact. Patients, who are already stressed and running late, are even more likely to have trouble finding their way.

So, what are they to do? One’s first contact point will likely be an information desk. However, due to a number of other people queuing up there, which is often the case, they may ask other personnel they encounter in the hallway. From there, they will either be referred back to the information desk or the hospital personnel will stop and give directions, taking valuable time away from their core duties.  

Indoor Hospital Navigation queue

Patients queuing inside a hospital
Image Credit: Jasper Broderick

Eventually, the visitor will find their way, but not without delay and frustration. Not to be overlooked is the resulting chain reaction. If a patient is late, a physician’s time is wasted and they may feel the need to rush, which in turn provides more room for errors. Alternatively, if a physician doesn’t rush, their schedule will be disrupted resulting in further delays. The inefficiency of time management and human resources is an issue that impacts patient experience and has severe financial ramifications for healthcare institutions.

Solution: Experiential Wayfinding

Indoor Hospital Navigation map powered by Jibestream

This doesn’t have to be the case. Combining an indoor mapping platform with an indoor positioning solution, makes for the perfect counter measure to address these challenges.


Via a mobile app, visitors to the building, e.g. patients, are able to select a specific location from a list and let themselves be navigated towards their point of interest. This eliminates the need to ask for directions and empowers visitors to easily and independently navigate to their destination.


This not only helps patients, but also breaks the vicious cycle; patients navigate independently and are on time, workload and stress levels at information desks are reduced, physicians can start treatments on time and work calmly and thoroughly without interference to their schedules.



Map powered by Jibestream


“Finding your way in a hospital can be challenging. We see more and more hospitals invest in Bluetooth based indoor navigation to improve the quality of stay for patients, and help new hires navigate the space. The system can also benefit visitors with reduced mobility by suggesting them special routes within the clinic.” – Szymon Niemczura, Co-Founder and CEO


What other problems are healthcare institutions dealing with and how to solve them? Stay tuned and find out in our next blogpost, shortly!


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