Easy Hospital, a wayfinding app for Emilia-Romagna health services
Easy Hospital is an app created in order to guide the citizen through access and use of public health services provided by health structures and hospitals creating a seamless experience between physical and digital services, accessible for all and easy to use.
The first pilot implementation of the regional digital guide to health services has been deployed in S.Orsola hospital in Bologna, a hospital distributed in 32 buildings over an area of 386.982 m2 more than 1 km wide, visited by 20.000 people/day on average and with renovation works always ongoing.
The solution has been deployed as a pilot implementation in the area of S.Orsola hospital in Bologna. S.Orsola hospital has been chosen because of its complexity: it is distributed in 32 buildings, some of which are quite old and often require renovation works. Signposts are not always promptly corrected and even the hospital personnel might not be aware of every possible change, so people accessing the hospital can be disoriented and not know where to go. Even when there’s no change in destination, moving through the area of almost 400.000 m2 is not easy, and it’s not unusual to see people looking around for the nearest exit, the car parking, bus stops or an ATM.
Easy Hospital is a wayfinding app that guide people through the hospital area and inside the buildings, using a combination of GPS and Bluetooth beacon installed in the buildings (the pilot started with 2 buildings covered with indoor navigation, and will be extended to all the other buildings).
The methodology used to design the Easy Hospital app is service design.
Service design is an approach to design that defines the relationship between a user and an organization, generating a quality experience for both parties involved and facilitating the achievement of the desired result by the user of the service, while creating value for the organization.
The most important feature of Service Design are user-centered perspective (focus on user's needs), transparency, collaboration with citizens, multi-channel approach, simplification to reduce complexity and increase trust, measurement of results.
Easy hospital has been designed to respond to a set of basic user needs, expressed by question as “Excuse me, where do I find building #23?”, “Where can I pay for my examination?” or “I can’t find the parking where I left the car!”.
To make the usage of the app easier and most intuitive possible, the design team went through a benchmark study on the most used wayfinding solution, to identify abd adopt the most common interface patterns.
To simplify user engagement the app doesn’t require any log in: every person that book a visit at S.Orsola receives a text message on his phone containing the booking confirmation and a recap of when and where the visit will be held. The SMS ends with a link that activates Easy Hospital and let the user save the details of the visit. On the day of the visit the user can start the navigation to the building and the specific room. Also if the visit requires a payment, the app guides the user to the nearest ATM in the campus. Integration of the app with on line payment is one of the future development foreseen.
Results and Impact assessment
In the first 3 months of use the app has been installed by almost 7.000 users both on Android and iOS smartphones, and has been used 700-800 times a week on average.
Usability tests involving real users are going to be run in the next months, and usage impressions are also collected through anonymous surveys via the app itself.