When was the last time that you attended a medical consultation and the healthcare specialist/consultant/nurse was able to see you within a few minutes of your scheduled time slot? You can’t remember, can you? I know I can’t.
More often than not, hospital waiting times exceed 40 minutes caused by an infinite number of reasons; staff shortages, patients going to the wrong clinic, lack of specialist consultants, external factors such as congestion, (which has a knock on effect of patients arriving late), exceeding the number of patients per consultant ratio to compensate for the no-showers, overstretched A&E departments, the list is endless.
Alleviating anxiety and boredom
Even if we’re feeling totally calm and collected on arrival, our anxiety and boredom levels will more than likely go through the roof by the time we actually get seen by a consultant because there are only so many times we want to flick through old magazines and until recently, the use of mobile phones was prohibited for fear of interfering with medical equipment. Although mobile phones are no longer banned, coverage inside hospital buildings is notoriously poor so we can’t alleviate our boredom by browsing or checking Facebook. The best way to reduce patient anxiety is to:
- to keep them informed on wait times and
- keep them entertained in the meantime
Digital signage a necessity in healthcare
With the healthcare sector under constant pressure to deliver a better patient experience while reducing overheads, alleviating anxiety and boredom is no mean feat. Digital signage is therefore no longer a luxury but a necessary requirement, not only to to improve patient and staff communications but also to streamline internal processes and lower spending costs.
Not only that, with the Internet of Things (IoT) predicted to change the face of healthcare communications beyond all recognition by 2020, there is a perfect opportunity for digital signage to be used in conjunction with interactive applications to deliver the ultimate patient experience.
So what are the uses for digital signage?
Wayfinding – touchscreen directories are invaluable in multisite campuses and will help your patients navigate their way through a maze of floors and corridors to find the correct department or clinic and get to their consultation on time. By combining it with facial recognition technologies, you can even greet patients on arrival.
Self-help services – on arrival, why not encourage patients to sign themselves in, or complete any pre-consultation paperwork via a touchscreen display to prevent administration errors occurring as a result of hospital staff not being able to decipher illegible handwriting? Self-help services are also an effective way to provide patients with background information on different consultants, thus making them feel more at ease.
Public waiting areas – displaying estimated wait times on large displays in public waiting can help reduce patient anxiety. By incorporating IPTV feeds (news or sport for example), wellbeing videos or general hospital information on the same displays, you can dramatically reduce the perceived waiting time and alleviate boredom.
Collaboration and Sponsorship – give third-party suppliers the opportunity to buy airtime from you to promote new medicines or services to and use the moneys earned to offset running costs of your digital signage investment, or to fund much needed research or non-budgeted resource.
Improved efficiency – Digital signage will give public waiting areas a ultramodern feeling because the displayed information is current, on point and does away with the need for printed pamphlets (which are usually out of date). If you want to reinforce messaging or encourage patients or visitors to take information away, then why not include QR codes into your digital signage content?
Internal communication – Strategically placed digital signage in staff break rooms is a great way to effectively communicate HR related information and it also serves as an effective training tool. Digital signage can even be connected healthcare call centres to show call volumes, call wait times etc.
Compliance and emergency messages – health and safety information or hygiene messages can be pushed out to hospital wards, consultation areas, public waiting rooms and staff quarters from a centralised point, removing the need to constantly update printed posters. You can also instigate an emergency procedure by overriding regular content with emergency alerts (evacuation processes, for example) at the push of a button.
Cafeteria services – save time and money printing menus out every day or week. Whether you’re promoting lunchtime specials in the cafeteria or simply displaying nutritional information, all of it can be changed quickly and effectively through digital signage.
Signagelive’s digital signage as a service offering
Signagelive has been providing cloud-based digital signage networks to healthcare organisations for more than five years and here are just a handful of successful healthcare projects:
- IDS Canada, the largest media company in Canada that focuses specifically on healthcare is using Signagelive to power digital posters in waiting rooms across the country
- Benu Pharmacies in Lithuania has been able to strengthen its brand nationally and increase overall revenue thanks to Signagelive
- The Healthcare Messaging Group is using Signagelive to deliver effective digital signage to hospitals throughout the UK including Moorfield’s Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Bart’s Health NHS Trust and The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
The Signagelive platform, with System on chip (SoC) devices, removes the need for onsite media players and storage servers, resulting in huge cost savings compared to conventional digital signage systems. Signagelive is also device and system agnostic, so healthcare companies can repurpose already deployed infrastructure, reducing CAPEX and maintenance costs. thus lowering the barrier of entry.
Get your hospital future-ready with a digital signage network powered by Signagelive. Click here for a free trial.