Navigating any large hospital campus can be a challenge for patients that may prevent them from getting to appointments on time.

Kaleida Health, a Buffalo, N.Y.-area system, took its patients’ frustrations to heart and, with the help of outside vendors, built a digital wayfinding tool into its free MyKaleida mobile app. Once an app user crosses the building threshold, the tool shows them an internal map with the route to the user's destination. A blue dot moves along the route to indicate the patient’s location, explains Cletis Earle, vice president and chief information officer. It even notifies visitors of coupons at the coffee shop and other on-site vendors.

Kaleida is a winner of a 2017 Most Wired Innovator Award from the American Hospital Association and Hospitals & Health Networks.

The wayfinding app, first launched in spring 2017 at Kaleida’s new Oishei Children’s Outpatient Center, is being rolled out in phases at other locations, including the system’s four hospitals. Canadian firm Jibestream created the indoor mapping system.

The health system is expanding the functionality of the wayfinding tool in future versions. The next version of the app will integrate wayfinding with clinical systems so that patients will receive appointment notifications on their smartphones, along with driving directions to the parking lot nearest to their appointment location and suggestions on when to leave home based on distance and driving times. Once the patient enters the building, the app will switch from an external mapping solution to Kaleida's internal wayfinding tool.

Future plans include using the technology to support operations. It could track valuable and high-demand equipment to reduce retrieval times, it could create mapped rounding lists for physicians, and it could help volunteers navigate the campus.

The system is expected to boost patient satisfaction. Health system leaders also anticipate that by helping get people and equipment to the right place at the right time, the technology will decrease delayed appointments, improve procedure start times and ultimately produce efficiencies.

“We’re really talking about using this technology as a framework — not just a patient solution, but an entire health system solution,” Earle says.

The Most Wired Innovator Award honors hospitals that apply technology in innovative ways, finding creative solutions to serve their patients, staff and communities. A panel of chief information officers and others evaluate submissions on a variety of criteria, including universality and achievement of business objectives, creativity and uniqueness of concept, impact on the organization, scope of the solution, state of implementation, and technical creativity.