The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has become the first hospital in Victoria to offer accessible digital wayfinding for patients, staff, and visitors, through its hospital-wide launch of the Australian digital solution, BindiMaps.
The newly-installed service functions like Google Maps, but has been specifically developed to work indoors with a 10 to 20 times higher accuracy than GPS can provide for indoor locations.
Google’s satellites can only pinpoint location to around 20 meters compared to 1 to 2 metres indoors for BindiMaps.
The new service will allow all Peter Mac patients, staff, and visitors - including, in particular, those with vision impairment or a disability - to navigate the hospital with significantly greater ease and accuracy via a simple mobile app.
The app uses sophisticated navigation algorithms and a network of Bluetooth beacons and smartphone sensors to offer users a choice of audio directions, text, or map view throughout the hospital, providing accurate, real-time, and step-by-step directions to any destination.
It was developed with the help of hundreds of blind and vision impaired users, to ensure the highest levels of accessibility and inclusivity in its design as possible.
Studies of digital wayfinding tools for people with visual impairments have found wayfinding support increases confidence and autonomy, which is crucial for quality of life.
BindiMaps has already partnered with St. Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and the Sydney Eye Hospital in New South Wales to improve accessibility for patients and visitors.
According to data collated by BindiMaps in these two hospitals, most users searched for medical wards and departments, bathrooms, entrances and exits.
BindiMaps founder and CEO Anna Wright said, “Upon arrival at a hospital, patients and visitors often face confusing corridors and unfamiliar medical lexicon that can bewilder and intimidate. Naming conventions, layouts, and definitions also vary from one hospital to another, while departments can move around with the expansion and addition of buildings, resulting in out-of-date signage.
“This is challenging enough for those who do not have a disability or vision impairment. But when you add a disability or vision impairment into the mix - which is the case for a high proportion of hospital users - it can lead to heightened frustration and significant difficulty in accessing essential services.
“The truth is, static signage cannot keep up with the evolving nature of hospitals, which is where BindiMaps’ proprietary accessible wayfinding technology could make all the difference in the world to patients and visitors, and the staff who care for them so well."