Beyond Advertising: 5 Ways Healthcare is Making the Most of Digital Signage

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Advertisers and Marketers have long been aware of digital signage’s potency as a tool for consumer messaging. And, with global digital signage revenues projected to skyrocket to over $23bn by 2023, its importance is only likely to increase.

Yet digital signage’s potential is by no means limited to advertising: industries as diverse as education, hospitality, and healthcare have all begun to utilise the technology. In healthcare, digital signage is at the forefront of a quiet revolution in patient experience and engagement. Here are five ways the sector is harnessing digital signage to improve healthcare outcomes.

1. Queue Management and Waiting Times

Queues and waiting times have always been a problematic feature of healthcare due to its unpredictable nature. This is unlikely to change anytime soon, but simply better-communicating delays and better-managing queues can have a marked effect on patient experience.

In his article Psychology of Waiting Lines, former Harvard Business School Professor David Maister developed the theory that unexplained waits feel longer than explained waits; with the former causing increased anxiety and frustration among patients. Maister also posits the theory that merely explaining how long the wait is likely to be can reduce the “perceived waiting time” by as much as 35%.

Placing digital screens that include queue-management information, such as estimated waiting times in reception areas, is a great way to achieve this in practice. Giving your patients up-to-the-minute information can help alleviate anxiety, reduce frustration, and cut perceived waiting times.

Alongside the obvious benefits this provides for patient experience, it can also save your staff time and undue stress. If your patients are aware and relaxed about how long they're likely to be waiting to see clinical staff, they’re less likely to require assistance from your reception and admin staff, freeing up their time for other tasks.

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2. Patient Wayfinding

For a patient or visitor, finding your way through a large facility such as a hospital can be disorientating, confusing and frustrating. So, introducing interactive patient wayfinding kiosks into the high-stress environment of a hospital can give your patients and visitors one less thing to worry about in what is often a trying time.

It sounds simple, but providing an interactive map that includes ward directories and step-by-step directions can help your patients get to their destination faster and more efficiently. The advantages of this are twofold - firstly, your patients benefit from an enhanced sense of well-being and security, which contributes toward a positive patient experience. In addition, your staff spend less time directing patients and visitors to their destinations and “win back” time that can be spent on other tasks.

3. Increasing Awareness

There’s an old cliché that says awareness is the first step to prevention; nowhere does this ring truer than in healthcare. But exposing patients to important healthcare messaging, in a way that’s interesting and memorable, has often proved easier said than done.

This is where digital signage comes in. Most modern digital signage options are equipped with a digital media player and internet connectivity, opening a wealth of possibilities to healthcare providers looking to boost awareness.

Instead of fusty waiting rooms with racks of dog-eared leaflets and 1995’s flu vaccination posters peeling from the walls, practices can play the latest health awareness videos and dynamic content, sourced from anywhere on the internet.

Alongside this, practice staff can produce their own custom content for targeted and timely awareness campaigns with little more than an internet browser. For instance, say your practice runs an over-65’s flu clinic every Wednesday morning, doesn’t it make sense to target those patients with health care messages which are relevant and interesting to them? Digital display screens make this possible.

The premise is simple. Provide your patients with engaging, relevant content, using a medium that naturally draws attention, and they’re much more likely to pay attention to, and remember, the messages your awareness campaigns are trying to convey.

4. Boosting Inclusivity and Engagement

Western society is as diverse as it’s ever been, and as a result, hospitals and practices are drawing their patients from an ever deeper demographic pool. With that in mind, it’s vital healthcare uses the tools at its disposal to connect with and engage all patients.

There are a couple of ways digital signage is being used towards this goal. The first is inbuilt survey modules in digital display screens. These inbuilt patient engagement surveys, often delivered at the point of check-in, can help healthcare providers canvass the opinion of their whole community - ensuring that patient trends are identified quickly, and healthcare catered to all.

The second is the growing inclusion of translation tools in digital display screens. Like patient surveys (which are also becoming widely translated), these tools can help your healthcare messaging reach the widest possible audience, no matter how diverse your community.

5. Improving Patient Experience

The simplest of the five, but probably the most important: digital signage actually has the potential to make a trip to your hospital or practice more enjoyable.

Waiting to be seen no longer has to entail thumbing through an ancient copy of Reader’s Digest or watching the clock. Trying to navigate the hospital no longer means trying to find a busy member of staff to help or relying on sporadic signs. And delays to appointments are no longer an exercise in guesswork and growing patient irritation.

Instead, digital signage can provide your patients with relevant, engaging content, played while they wait, directions to where they need to go, and calming information on how long they’re likely to wait. All of which contribute to a vastly improved patient experience and, ultimately, happier, more engaged patients.

For more on how digital signage can help you improve patient experience and engagement click here, or on the link below to speak to one of our experts. 

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Topics Patient Engagement Technology