Healthcare was inching toward a digital transformation well before the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the shift. The global health crisis accelerated the pace of digital innovation, advancing virtual care, reinforcing the need for interoperability across platforms and locations, and demonstrating the power of remote collaboration.

This inevitably moved us toward wider adoption of healthcare digital signage, as hospitals cannot advance digital transformation without digital signage that delivers the right messages to the right people at the right time. Clear, concise communication within and across teams is vital, as is communication with hospital visitors.

Digital signage affects the experience of everyone that steps foot in the hospital. It empowers clinicians by amplifying the flow of critical clinical information, engages guests with visual stories and information, and provides guidance for patients and their loved ones. Patient-centered, team-based care is facilitated by digital signage inside and outside the patient rooms.

In short, digital signage enables digital health. As I often tell my colleagues, “it’s the thing that gets you to the thing.” Of course, we have a long way to go, but it will be worth the effort. There are many benefits of digital signage in healthcare. By providing more efficient and patient-focused care, healthcare facilities cultivate a reputation for excellence, making it easier to attract patients, clinicians and staff.

Wayfinding: Guiding the patient journey

Getting lost is frustrating enough. Getting lost in a sprawling medical complex when you are worrying about a loved one, coping with an illness or facing surgery can be devastating. Yet health systems often fail to provide intuitive wayfinding systems for patients and visitors. The ensuing frustration, confusion and delays can set the tone for the entire patient experience, undermining patient satisfaction and even impairing care.

Digital signage solves this from the moment guests approach the facility. Outside signage directs guests to the right entrance, the right building and the right parking garage.

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Once the guest enters the facility, digital signage helps continue the patient journey by providing direction and clarity as guests move through the campus. Touchscreen maps show patients and visitors where they are and where they need to go. This eases the journey for the patient and relieves the burden on staff members, who no longer have to assist lost guests.

Rethinking patient room whiteboards

Digital signage can make a measurable impact inside the patient’s room. Just think of the traditional dry-erase board, the standard for patient communication and notes. In theory, the board is updated each shift with the names of the patient’s care team members, as well as real-time information about their medications, goals, dietary restrictions and estimated date of discharge. Too often, however, it’s out of date, inaccurate or simply illegible. A digital whiteboard can update automatically without hospital staff even having to enter the room. When each team member — including patients and caregivers — enters the room, they have immediate access to the most current information at the point of care.

Samsung interactive displays, such as the Flip 2, provide a different kind of digital whiteboard — one that allows team members to draw diagrams, annotate charts and mark up images. It’s fully digital and mobile, and it can be accessed from the patient’s bedside. It’s just another way smart patient rooms support clinicians and enhance the patient experience.

Collaborative patient care

Interactive displays are fairly new on the scene across all industries, but some hospitals and clinics are immediately recognizing their value. The Samsung Flip 2, for example, is a digital version of a paper flip chart, allowing physicians to do something such as sketch out where pins will be inserted on a broken limb and share the image with the patient’s care team.

The collaborative nature of these displays provides hospital staff with another method of informing and educating the patient during their stay. A clinician can walk into a patient room and, using a phone, tablet or laptop, cast an image onto the Flip. After addressing specific areas of patient concern through medical images, illustrations and annotations, they can then save the image and attach it directly to the patient’s electronic health records (EHR) file.

Patient engagement and satisfaction

The patient experience isn’t solely measured by the quality of the face-to-face interactions with clinicians and hospital staff. Many hospital patients spend hours sitting in a room alone or with a visitor. For that reason, the healthcare industry takes a lot of cues from the hospitality world and now, patients are starting to expect hotel-like amenities, including large in-room TVs.

Hospitals currently in the renovation design stage are planning for 65-inch and 75-inch displays, a size that would have been unheard-of only five years ago. There’s a reason for the robust size, though. Patients and their family members enjoy the better viewing experience, but the TV also allows for a bigger canvas for clinicians to present images, such as X-rays or scans, to the patient. In-patient TVs support on-demand educational materials specific to the patient and their condition. With a split-screen function on the Samsung TV, the electronic patient whiteboard can be displayed while patients access their own streaming services and even social networking platforms.

Soon, hospitals will see screens located above the patient’s head that are connected to real-time location services (RTLS). As an attending physician enters the patient room, the screen would display information relevant to their roles and responsibilities. The nurse would see different relevant information, the respiratory tech would see something else, and so on.

RTLS represents only part of the value. Because the display is positioned over the patient’s head, the clinician is looking toward — not away from — the patient. We know based on years of patient data that patients are unhappy when clinicians spend far more time looking at a computer screen than at them. They feel like the computer has displaced them as the focus of attention. Displays will help return the focus to where it belongs — the patients.

Future-proofing facilities

Healthcare digital signage provides a secure, intuitive way to improve workflow, enhance the guest experience and reduce human error, allowing hospital executives to future-proof their facilities and ensure relevance.

Healthcare will continue to move towards the digital health culture, not because it is trendy or flashy, but because digital communication has become inseparable from providing best-practice healthcare. With technology influencing everything from how we shop to how we socialize, people will expect it to be integrated into their healthcare experience, too. The questions these leaders are pondering are not whether to implement, but when and how.

Explore how to improve the patient experience and outcomes with Samsung’s full range of digital health solutions. And learn more about optimizing healthcare with digital signage and collaborative technologies with this free white paper.

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Ken Honeycutt

A healthcare industry veteran, Ken Honeycutt leads Samsung’s Healthcare Display business. Ken brings a unique vision and insight on the emerging technologies in healthcare settings. He has led business and development teams at Cardinal Health/Pyxis, McKesson Provider Technologies, Cerner Smartroom, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Smartoom and IBM’s Global Digital Hospital Initiative.

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