Apps, News

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital introduces way-finder app for patients

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is launching a ‘way-finder app’ to help patients navigate their way around the site.

The app is part of an initiative by the hospital’s official charity, CW+, called CW Innovation – a programme that focuses on testing and scaling the latest innovations with the aim of improving patient experience.

Known as BuzzStreets, the app will help both patients and their families find their way around the hospital safely, hopefully reducing stress for patients and the need for staff to spend time giving directions, as well as minimising the number of people in the corridors with social distancing measures in mind, and helping visitors make appointments on time.

In support of its idea to implement the digital solution, the charity cites stats from Deloitte Digital, which say 87% of patients ask for directions in medical settings and that 30% of first-time visitors do get lost.

The BuzzStreets app has already had a successful trial, so will now be used by patients, who can open the feature outside of the hospital and allow the digital tool to guide them to their specific location – be it a bed, ward, office, cafe, pharmacy or other room. As well as including ‘Points of Interest’ on the hospital site, the app will also direct users to information about its collection of art and digital works, creating a bespoke patient experience for the hospital.

Vanessa Sloane, Deputy Chief Nurse at the Trust, said of the app: “The pilot project has already shown that the app reduces frustration for staff and visitors alike. It helps reduce the anxiety of patients and visitors trying to find their way in the hospital, which previously required contact with multiple different staff. Overall, we’ve seen that the app helps save resources, improve patient outcomes, and enhances the entire hospital experience for patients and their families.”

Joe Fernandez, CEO of BuzzStreets, added: “The BuzzStreets system brings outdoor navigation inside. And as one of London’s biggest and busiest hospitals, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has been the perfect pilot location. It’s a complex building with over 6,000 visitors every day – all with different needs, at different times, with different end locations. We’ve developed the app to tackle the common problems relating to visitors getting lost and staff spending time giving directions to save the NHS both time and money.”

It’s been a busy few months for CW+ and Chelsea and Westminster, which has launched several trials and tools across the trust as part of its Innovation programme.

Since April, when HTN reported on the roll-out of new imaging technology to enable patients to share photos of wounds and rashes with clinicians, the trust has also permanently installed thermal screening technology at the entrances of its hospitals to help with COVID-19 infection control, and launched a new platform to support colorectal patients to record their real-time symptoms remotely.

As part of a wider arts initiative, the trust and its charity have also continued to expand their arts programme – which has a digital arm – to improve patient wellbeing, which includes the delivery of video workshops for young patients, in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery.