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New GPS System Making It Easy For Patients, Visitors To Navigate Busy Hospitals

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – GPS technology has come to an unexpected place – hospitals.

The navigation technology is helping patients and visitors find their way in some really confusing buildings.

Hospitals are not easy places to find your way around. They can be scary and stressful for many people, making it confusing to find the x-ray department, a clinic, or visit a patient. That's what Diana Krulik-Bentan faced visiting her father who'd just had kidney surgery.

"The place is massive… When going to a hospital to visit a loved one, the last thing you want to worry about is navigating a large space," Krulik-Bentan said.

Nurse manager Megan Weinman sees the problem all the time.

"We often see family members lost," the Hackensack University Hospital manager said.

That's less of a problem now, thanks to an indoor navigation system that Hackensack University recently installed. It's a kind of indoor GPS, but without the satellites.

gps hospital
New GPS system helps patients and visitors find their way around Hackensack University Hospital. (Credit: CBS2)

"It uses Bluetooth beacons that transmit signals and triangulates your position to within two to three feet," Joe Motta of Connexient.

The system works through a free downloadable app onto your smartphone... The chief technology officer for hackensack showed me the step-by-step directions the app provides.

"There are lots of people in this facility, lots of motion, this reduces frustration and confusion," said Dr. David Reiss of Hackensack Meridian Health.

CBS2 followed Diana as she navigated her way to her father's unit. Just like outdoor GPS, it follows your progress, tells you what your next turns are, and even gets you onto elevators and off at the right floor.

The Connexient system has already been installed at more than 60 hospitals around the country including six of the largest in the Tri-state area. It took a little bit of stress out of Diana's hospital visits to see her father.

"The app made it easy to navigate to his room. Took the thinking out of it. It put my mind at ease," the grateful daughter said.

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