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New CUH Directions phone app helps patients find the way

Patients have led the way in a project to make it easier to navigate your way around Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.

Patient, Mike, standing outside Addenbrooke's Hospital reception holding his mobile phone looking at the CUH directions app
Hospital volunteer Mike tests the new CUH Directions app.

The new CUH Directions app was the idea of hospital volunteer Mike, a member of the Outpatient Experience Group, who led on the project with hospital staff.

Mike told us that the idea for the app came about early on in lockdown, not long after he joined the group.

“People were still coming into the hospital for appointments”, he explained: “but all of the volunteer guide work had been forced to stop due to the pandemic.”

So the Outpatient Experience Group started to explore new ways of helping patients find their way independently.

Mike told us that they spent a lot of time thinking about things like: ‘Are enough people able to use a smart phone?’ And testing the app to make sure that it was easy to use and accessible for disabled users. This included testing by the hospitals' learning disabilities team and volunteer guides.

The group also worked with Cam Sight, a charity that supports local people living with low vision and blindness, to help make sure the app was accessible for people with sight impairments.

Mike said: “We chose this app because it was simple and easy to use. And once you’ve downloaded it to your smartphone or tablet, there are no extra data costs.”

We worked hard to make sure it was accessible for people.

Mike, a patient member of the Outpatient Experience Group

Once you’ve installed CUH Directions onto your phone, you can check the route you need to take to any appointment. You don’t need to be onsite at the hospital to do this.

Volunteer Mike using CUH Directions app on mobile phone in hospital corridor.
Mike uses the CUH Directions app.

To use the app, simply enter your start and end points. The app will then show you an illustrated route around the hospitals with photos of corridors and key landmarks. This includes simple text instructions which can be increased in size or read by a screen reader.

The app also contains links to other useful information, including key hospital phone numbers, maps and travel options.

The app has been made possible by the hard work and dedication of Mike and the Outpatient Experience Group. It is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by engaging with our patients, listening to their experiences and ideas, and working with them to make improvements.

Ally Perkins, deputy operations manager, outpatients

CUH Directions has also been endorsed by the local health and care champion, with Julian Stanley, chief executive of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, saying:

“Healthwatch Cambridgeshire is impressed by the CUH Directions app and even more so that the project has been led by patients themselves. I’m sure that it will go a long way to relieving some of the anxiety people feel when going to hospital, particularly as Addenbrooke’s hospital site is large and the Rosie has its own separate entrance. A guide like this will be very helpful.”

CUH Directions was funded by Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (opens in a new tab). With the help of many generous supporters, they provide funds so that we can offer the very best care day after day, year after year.

ACT CEO, Shelly Thake, said: “The charity is delighted to help launch the new CUH Directions app which was kindly funded by ACT supporters. Patients coming to the hospital, including those who are sight impaired or have learning disabilities, will now be able to find their way to appointments and wards from car parks and the bus station more easily.”

How to download CUH Directions

It is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, so download it and give it a try.