Practical Uses for Geolocation and how it could Benefit Your NHS Organisation

Posted 12 Sep, 2016
by Michael

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Put simply, geolocation involves recording a user’s location data and then using that data for various possible purposes. In web technology, particularly websites and apps, geolocation has become much more openly available to implement into products. Consequently, it has become possible for us to offer geolocation features into our products in multiple different ways.

As we’ve worked with the NHS and health and care sector over the years, Frank Health has helped to use web technology to provide solutions to various different problems. Geolocation can be considered as another tool to add to our belt in helping to create those solutions, expanding the range of possible services that we can provide.

The breadth and depth of usage that geolocation offers is difficult to overstate. It can be used to make improvements to administration workflows behind a digital product, all the way up to being the centre stage feature of a product.

Understanding your users

For example, all of our websites have Google Analytics set up to record various user statistics. One of those data points is user’s geographical locations when they were visiting a website. Knowing the average location of your users, alongside Google Analytics’ impressive demographics data, you can very easily build up a useful understanding of who your average users are and where they are based.

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Such information can be used to better target any marketing efforts that you make - which, if you use them to point people to your website, will give you even more geolocation data. This quickly creates a useful feedback loop of user data that will over time give you an ever more accurate representation of your average user.

Assistance in using such data can be provided by Frank Health as part of our e-marketing package, where we help to manage email campaigns and other e-marketing strategies.

Using geolocation as a tool

Beyond using geolocation data for management purposes, geolocation itself can be something that your users can take advantage of to improve their experience in using your website/product.

For example, a lot of health sector organisations we are speaking to are managing large groups of staff who are working in different areas around their central point of operation. A common problem being encountered by such organisations is ensuring that staff are aware of which offices have free desks for them to come in and work at.

To solve such a problem, we have been working on a “hot-desking” web application that allows staff members to find the “hot-desking” office nearest to their current location.

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A tool like this can be repurposed to meet various different needs. The basic principle of being able to find points of interest in relation to your current location gives users the ability to relate the information that your website or services provides and quickly relate it to themselves.

It also gives your users a potential action to follow up on after finding such information. For example, this tool could be used to better direct patients to their nearest walk-in centre or pharmacy.

Beyond that, if you decide to feed in information about each individual item on the map, you can then give users even deeper search parameters.

To take the walk-in centre example again, imagine if live data was being fed in to show the current capacity of each centre. Not only would a user be able to see which centres were nearest, but also which of them were least busy at the moment.

When used in the correct way, geolocation data can be used as a very compelling “call to action” for your users. As well as a useful tool to measure your website’s / service’s success rates with users.

With all of the above said, it’s best to appreciate that geolocation is not a silver bullet that solves every conceivable problem. Instead, it’s best to think of it as one of many tools available to you in the ever growing toolbox of web technologies. Regardless, geolocation shows impressive versatility in its potential uses.

If you'd like to learn more about how Frank Health can help support efficiencies in your organisation, get in touch today.

Call Jason or Alex on 0161 273 53 54 (North) or Jamie on 01582 345 574 (South)

You can take a look at some recent work in our portfolio by clicking here.