Across the UK, underfunded healthcare practices and hospitals are taking taking a leaf out of the marketing industry's book by replacing traditional displays with digital counterparts – but why is digital signage vital to modern healthcare?
Digital media is undoubtedly the new normal, with UK adults consuming an average of over nine hours every day. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a boom for the digital signage industry, and experts predict continuing development at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.21% through to 2022.
This growth is reflected in hospital wards and waiting rooms as much as it is by the increasing digitisation of billboards and bus stops, as healthcare organisations constantly explore new solutions to help budgets stretch further.
Digital Signage Increases Engagement with Healthcare Messaging
It’s no surprise the popularity of digital display solutions for the healthcare industry also comes at a time when even basic options come with all the bells and whistles needed to increase patient engagement with your messaging.
In fact, digital signage is considered among the most cost-effective advertising medium, costing as little as 10% of any other advertising channel.
The idea that digital signage fosters high engagement with healthcare messaging is backed by data showing 55% of respondents to an OAAA survey were able to recall specific messaging displayed on digital displays.
In addition, a study of hospitals in the US by Arbitron Inc, found that three out of four patients and caregivers found digital signage both enhanced the hospital experience and provided health information they could use.
A digital screen isn't just a new platform though, it also provides access to a much broader range of healthcare messaging. Instead of relying on barely legible posters and poorly designed leaflets, you’ll be able to display the latest professionally designed collateral from the NHS content library.
You could even begin developing your own messaging to increase engagement with local healthcare programmes and tackle breaking health concerns. Particularly inventive users could take further instruction from the world of advertising and utilise proven design methodologies to capture attention and increase engagement.
Digital Signage Increases Inclusivity and Accessibility
As Britain become more diverse, waiting rooms are filled by patients from a wide range of backgrounds, and unless your signage reflects this, the patient experience you provide potentially alienates entire communities.
Research from the USA, a country with a similarly heterogeneous population, shows half of primarily Spanish-speaking patients see language barriers as the biggest hurdle to healthcare – even more so than paying for the care:
“Just under half of Spanish-speaking survey respondents say language issues present a barrier when communicating with doctors or reading printed materials, such as forms.”
As well as highlighting a disconnect between patients and doctors, the results show potential problems with completing necessary admin and engaging with health information.
Digital signage is a great help for non-native speakers because it's able to display messaging in a variety of language. When paired with other patient engagement software, digital signage can ensure people with any level of English-comprehension are able to register with you and submit feedback to help improve your interactions with them.
High-quality digital signage will not only include translation tools, but will have been developed to be accessible for people with a wide range of disabilities. We recently worked with Newham CGC to ensure healthcare in Newham was more inclusive and IT Project Manager Chris Riley found the new solution provided the following benefits:
“We’re responsible for the healthcare in one of the UK’s most diverse boroughs, so the ability to digitally publish our translated healthcare messages has helped us ensure we’re connecting with the whole community. Likewise, digital displays have proved invaluable in providing deaf patients in our community with accessible healthcare messages.”
Digital Signage Means Happier Patients and Happier Staff
There are many things that annoy patients, from delayed appointments to illegible signage, and while digital displays can’t put an end to every irritant, they can ensure patients receive all the information needed for a positive experience.
For example, interactive digital signage can help direct patients to their required destination, and displaying up-to-the-minute waiting times can actually reduce the perceived length of waiting times for patients. By simply providing entertaining or informative content, you can help patients feel more relaxed before their scheduled consultation.
Digital signage doesn’t just improve the patient experience though. It’s also been shown to save staff time and cut administrative costs too, not to mention the added benefit of dealing with fewer unsatisfied patients.
After replacing its legacy signage with Jayex solutions, including easy-to-use self-check-in kiosks, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust discovered tangible benefits for thier administrative staff. As Mike McKernan, Productive Outpatient Programme Manager, explained:
“We’ve noticed a marked difference in the time our staff are able to dedicate to administrative tasks such as patient outreach. Before the system was installed a large proportion of staff time was spent on patient check-in, Jayex’s solution frees staff up for other tasks.”
Digital Signage Provides Incredible Flexibility
The waiting room experience hasn’t changed much through the decades – long queues, beleaguered receptionists, stacks of tatty leaflets, old issues of TV Times from two Doctor Whos previous, and that extremely disappointing knock-off Lego.
One of the great things about digital signage is that they're incredibly flexible. Once the hardware is installed you can add a wide variety of patient engagement software with little time, effort or cost.
Primarily, you might want to use the screens to highlight important public health messages and entertain patients with live TV or an up-to-the-minute news feed, but you'll always have the option of integrating self-check-in functionality or patient surveys.
Digital Signage Improves Health Outcomes
Appropriate preventative care can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of many conditions and illnesses. For example, changing certain behaviours in diabetes patients can improve blood sugar control and decrease functional limitations.
This makes digital signage a particularly fine bedfellow for hospitals and practices, where digital screens can be used to increase a patient’s engagement with strategically targeted healthcare messaging.
There is no shortage of evidence showing an association between engagement and positive healthcare outcomes for patients, including:
- Feeling confident about managing their conditions
- Recalling necessary healthcare information and knowledge
- Reporting that the chosen treatment was right for them
- Feeling satisfied with their care and treatment
- Adhering to their chosen treatment according to protocols
- Participating in monitoring and preventative medicine activities
In short, digital signage helps surgeries, practices and hospitals become better equipped to deliver a happier and more satisfying patient experience. It’s particularly effective at communicating a wide range of healthcare messaging which can be understood by everybody in the community.
In turn this is helping create more engaged and better-informed patients, who are more capable and confident in their ability to make the right decision about their health – which is great for both you and your patients.
To find out how you can get more from your signage and improve healthcare results, download our new ebook, How to Improve Patient Experience Within Your Healthcare Organisation.Back to blog