UCSF Releases Mobile App with Map Feature and More

August 08, 2011
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Mobile UCSF is here. The University's first app designed for a general audience will connect people to a vast array of possibilities, ranging from navigating the Parnassus Heights campus to reading the latest UCSF headlines.

The free app, which is now available in the Android Market and Apple App Store, both accessed from mobile devices, is aimed at the public, patients and their families, and UCSF students, faculty, staff, alumni and business partners.

"This is the first time UCSF has taken an overarching approach to mobile applications," said Elazar Harel, vice chancellor for Information Technology Services (ITS) and chief information officer at UCSF. "It's really about making everything easier for our patients, students and community."

For instance, the app can help users schedule a massage, track down anyone on campus, find out the location of Genentech Hall library, catch up on news about UCSF or attend a workshop on preparing for surgery.

"It is important that we provide news and information in ways the UCSF community and others can best receive it," said Barbara J. French, vice chancellor for Strategic Communications and University Relations. "The introduction of this app represents a major new step in providing information to a growing number of mobile app users."

The UCSF app covers eight categories: campus shuttle, directory, fitness, maps, library, events, news and emergency postings. The apps' maps feature is expected to be the most popular. This feature is now tied to maps of Parnassus Heights and Mission Bay campuses. The app's next incarnation will likely include Mount Zion, Laurel Heights and San Francisco General Hospital.

Monthly hits to m.ucsf.edu, the mobile-friendly version of ucsf.edu, are averaging 10,000 and trending much higher, with 80 percent coming from mobile devices, said Opinder Bawa, UCSF's chief technology officer and executive director of ITS.

Of course, the University's homepage ucsf.edu, which averages more than 550,000 visits a month, is not going anywhere. Since the website was redesigned and launched on Feb. 2, 2011, traffic to the most visited news stories has increased 30 percent.

Bawa, whose team built this new app, calls it a "foundational stone." He explained that Mobile UCSF is a precursor to a larger mHealth initiative: bringing health care directly to patients and research participants. A future app, for example, will allow participants in research studies to fill out data on their mobile devices every day and transmit it easily and securely, giving researchers real-time access to that information.

About UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital creates an environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the forefront of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond. The hospital admits about 5,000 children each year, including 2,000 babies born in the hospital. For more information, visit www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org.

Follow UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital on www.facebook.com/UCSFBenioffChildrens or on Twitter @UCSFHospitals.

This news release has been modified for the website