Healthcare providers constantly deal with important, and often-life-threatening issues. Hospitals and clinics must be accessible and well suited to any visitor or patient, regardless of their age or health. Not surprisingly, these facilities cater to a constant flow of visitors who are often unfamiliar with their surroundings. And to top it off… Staff, visitors and patients need to be kept informed, motivated, and entertained throughout the day.
Healthcare providers must ensure the health and well-being of everyone. The larger the facility, the more complex the challenge.
It’s an important role, and one that is increasingly fulfilled by digital signage.
Here are a few examples where digital signage is making a difference in healthcare.
Donor recognition walls
Hospitals have been using donor recognition walls for years, and digital signage is helping bring donor walls into the 21st century. Digital signage powered donor walls let hospital administrators recognize benefactors with an array of visual presentation options. Static images, videos, animations are combined to create attention grabbing visual content that honors donors and recognizes hospital staff.
Digital donor walls can be passive or interactive. When used in conjunction with a touch-enabled display, interactive donor walls inform visitors about the people and institutions that have contributed to the hospital’s success. Interactivity creates more memorable experiences, that will be remembered for a very long time. People learn about milestones in medical research and technology at their own pace while navigating the wall’s interactive content.
Employee / staff signage
Employee facing displays perform an important mission. They keep hospital staff informed and motivated throughout the day. Displays installed in staff meeting rooms provide an ideal platform for presentation material, and can be switched to show infotainment content between events. Since meeting rooms are often used for training purposes, displays also provide essential support for employee seminars and other similar functions.
Displays installed in common areas can play a mix of empowering, engaging and motivational content while lunch room screens present daily menus and specials.
These are all great for improving employee engagement.
Hospital and clinic lobbies benefit from message displays that welcome patients and visitors 24/7. Displays that show a mix of infotainment and healthcare news are located where people tend to wait so perceived dwell time is reduced. This is one of many opportunities to deliver a better experience.
Displays are also used to redirect people to specific areas, like meeting with a triage specialist in an emergency room or clinic. To perform these services, displays are interfaced with queue management systems and other hospital software applications, making sure patients are directed to the next available resource as soon as they are ready.
Clinics can really benefit from digital signage displays as they can personalize content for returning patients.
Depending on the specialty (cosmetic surgery, dentistry, eye care, etc…), digital signage content can be educational in nature. For example, lobby displays can be programmed to show videos that explain medical procedures, healthy eating tips and guidelines, medical innovations, drug information and more… Content is often available from government institutions, medical associations and other groups.
Patient care / common area signage
Digital signage displays are often found in common areas so hospital staff can communicate with patients at any time of the day or night. These displays are used to relay important information like announcements, notices, warnings and other time sensitive messages. This information can also be broadcast through the hospital’s cable TV system for direct messaging to each patient’s rooms.
Digital signage content can be triggered to interrupt currently scheduled programming and attract viewer’s attention. Once the message has been seen, regular programming resumes without any user intervention. This way, hospital content can be intermixed with live TV or other content like RSS, Media RSS, social media feeds (Twitter, Facebook, Google+…) and other live information.
These are great suggestions for improving patient morale through thoughtful and useful content.
Digital signage has emerged as one of the most useful platforms for wayfinding.
Anyone who has had to find their way around a large, unfamiliar hospital knows it can be a frustrating experience. Traditional wayfinding signage can be confusing at times, and difficult to decipher. It’s even worse when a healthcare facility spans multiple buildings.
By combining digital signage technologies with touch-screens, wayfinding experts can create interactive apps that anyone can use. No more getting lost while trying to locate your doctor.
Wayfinding displays are installed near emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, welcome centers, rehabilitation centers, pediatrics, radiology… Every public area benefits from having access to a wayfinding display.
A properly designed wayfinding map will provide useful information such as current location, emergency locations that are clearly indicated, stairs and elevator locations. Wayfinding content can include QR Codes that visitors can scan to download a copy of the site map on their smartphones. Frequent visitors may also be able to download a dedicated wayfinding app on their smartphones. These apps can interact with displays and provide additional information for visitors.
- Easier access to the entire healthcare facility.
- A better visitor experience.
- Less resources required at information desks.
- Less distraction for healthcare personnel.
Modern digital signage solutions have all but eliminated complex software configurations, and repetitive maintenance tasks. Deploying digital signage today can be as easy as entering an activation code on a System on Chip (Smart) display. With these new technologies, there are no external hardware components to install and no exposed wires hanging behind the display. And since the media player is contained inside the display frame, there are less chances for tampering or theft.
Today’s digital signage products can be deployed in minutes, with minimal technical skills.
Increased network security
Security has always been a top priority for healthcare providers. Every year, hospitals spend huge sums of money to secure their networks, and protect patient data. The best digital signage solutions on the market support modern network security features, and proxy servers to ensure hospital networks are protected from attacks.
Lower maintenance costs
Early digital signage software solutions required a lot of maintenance, and every task had to be performed manually. Since then, digital signage has evolved and many solutions now include features that free up staff from repetitive tasks, through automation and rule based programming.
For example, content can be pre-loaded months in advance to only be shown on screen on specific days, or for specific periods. Some products even support content and player tagging, so content will only play in specific locations. With these types of solutions, rules govern where and when content plays.
Products that offer software development kits (SDKs) let technical staff integrate digital signage software with the hospital’s internal systems and databases. Through customization, content updates and management tasks can be automated, so staff can concentrate on other tasks.
Looking to the future
As technology improves, we see more SoC display choices coming to market with higher resolutions and increased image quality. Other media player hardware products (PCs, Android devices) will continue to evolve and provide better performance in smaller devices. We already have entry level PC hardware that fits inside a “stick”, so expect to see even better performance and lower costs.
It’s safe to say digital signage has a bright future in healthcare services.