Questions, concerns and a wide range of emotions are always present in medical centers, from specialized medical clinics to multibuilding hospital campuses, underscoring the importance of accurate, timely communications for patients, visitors and staff alike.

Static printed signs can manage some basic communication needs, but healthcare providers increasingly need digital signage that can be quickly updated and easily targeted to improve the quality of their messaging — and drive more effective patient journey management.

Different types of displays serve different needs in healthcare settings, and each can be tuned to the dynamics and demands of a particular location and use case.

Visually soothing nervous visitors

At hospitals and other healthcare facilities, the questions and uncertainty start the moment that patients and their loved ones enter the lobby. Thoughtfully planned digital content can help calm their nerves.

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By delivering hopeful and inspirational messages, such as success stories of recovering patients in a rehabilitation facility, your displays can reassure new patients that they’re in the hands of skilled and knowledgeable medical professionals. In waiting rooms, soothing digital art can also help patients relax into a better frame of mind. These displays can even be leveraged for branding, helping caregiving organizations compete for business — and, in some cases, compete for staff, by providing easily accessible information on hospital benefits and their rates of positive patient outcomes.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare digital signage played a critical role in informing stakeholders of evolving safety restrictions and guidelines within a facility. Publicizing this messaging can further reassure patients that they’re in good hands, and enabling personnel to respond to rapid situational changes more effectively.

Guiding the way with effective patient journey management

A hospital’s first-time visitors may be particularly anxious and unsure of where to go or what to do, particularly in large multilevel or multibuilding medical complexes. Digital signage technology can guide visitors as they move around the campus, and offer them useful information about the services available at the facility. Visible displays in common areas, for instance, can help raise awareness of events, other services and amenities like parking, resulting in more effective patient journey management. Some signage systems can even send step-by-step directions right to a visitor’s smartphone (on demand) for real-time navigation.

Other healthcare systems load multiple languages into the display’s wayfinding app, allowing visitors to get the information they need in their first language, and easing the strain on reception, where staff would otherwise need to find an available translator.

Digital wayfinders and directories can also be set up to multitask as marketing tools that, when they’re not in use, revert to a scheduled rotation of messaging — such as promotion for an upcoming public lecture. High-brightness and outdoor-ready displays can do the work in a sun-filled atrium or an outdoor plaza.

Making the most of waiting areas

Medical centers are full of waiting rooms, in emergency departments, clinics, labs and diagnostic areas. Digital screens can address the needs and interests of both patients and visitors, in a variety of use cases:

Queue management: Take-a-number slips are being replaced by check-in kiosk displays that register a patient’s arrival, notify the management desk and assign numbers that appear on screens in the waiting area. Samsung Kiosk is an out-of-the-box solution that hospitals can quickly implement to offload extra work for hospital staff and increase efficiency.

Distraction: Waiting room screens can be effective tools for calming visitors who are concerned about the length of their wait time, and for distracting them from what’s likely a situation of emotional unease.

Patient education: In condition-specific clinics — diabetes clinics, for example — screens in the waiting area can prepare patients and their loved ones by teaching them about a particular condition and the process of treating it. While it’s not a replacement for one-to-one conversations with caregivers, well-prepared on-screen content can cover common questions and allow doctor-patient visits to get to the specifics more quickly.

Facilitating healthcare worker communication

At care centers and nurses stations, clinicians frequently, and often frantically, have to use dry-erase boards to update rotating schedules and patient information. But as healthcare records become increasingly digitized, these whiteboards can now be replaced with digital dashboards.

Transitioning to high-resolution digital displays benefits healthcare facilities in more ways than one. Sloppy handwriting, for instance, is no longer an issue in interpreting information about a patient’s condition or treatment regimen. At a glance, digital dashboards keep clinical teams up to date on room assignments, care teams, patient status, restrictions and completion rates of assigned tasks.

While classic dry-erase boards depend on manual updates, digital dashboards can be updated automatically when they’re integrated with real-time data from patient journey management systems.

Enhancing patient room signs

In office spaces, hotels and convention facilities, tablet-sized displays are increasingly common at the doors of meeting rooms — communicating who has the room booked, what the meeting is about and when the space will be available.

This same concept is being extended to patient rooms in hospitals. Outside the patient’s room, digital signage can help visitors locate a patient and let them know if the patient is temporarily in another room, perhaps getting an X-ray. Some displays, like Samsung’s QBR-T Series, feature interactive touchscreens, which can grant caregivers instant access to vital patient information. With the swipe of a finger, they can navigate through a variety of relevant, HIPAA-compliant information, such as whether visitors are allowed, the patient’s care team members and when they last received a staff visit.

Another line of Samsung TVs is specifically built with hospital settings in mind. The NT690U Series is a web-enabled television designed to meet the rigorous standards for use in hospital environments. It is UL 62368 Certified, and features an HTV emulator pillow speaker adapter that is compatible with multiple styles of pillow speakers, allowing patients to rest and relax while conveniently listening to TV audio from their beds.

Recognizing contributions

Most medical centers rely on donations, both personal and corporate, to expand or upgrade their facilities, where donors are typically honored on engraved walls or an array of plaques.

The advent of narrow-bezel LCD and direct-view LED video walls has allowed hospitals to elevate their donor recognition with high-profile feature walls. Rich graphics and videos can showcase major donors, describe how their contributions have helped patients and raise awareness of new fundraising campaigns. In some cases, donor walls are even interactive, allowing visitors to browse the donors and view detailed descriptions or targeted videos on demand.

The Wall from Samsung, for example, can help hospitals celebrate their donors and volunteers by showcasing their heartfelt testimonials on a powerful microLED display. This microLED technology is more durable than regular LED displays, and The Wall features both more dynamic color and higher contrast — resulting in stunning visuals that fully immerse the viewer. Anyone walking into the hospital lobby will want to stop to admire the donor stories shared on The Wall.

Healthcare settings can be intimidating and bewildering, and a critical component of delivering better care and ensuring happier patients is effective, timely communication. In many cases, like patient room signs or interactive wayfinding, no tool can facilitate this more effectively than well-planned and well-placed digital signage.

Find out more on how digital signage can be effectively used in the healthcare setting with this free guide to configuring and tailoring real-time messaging using an integrated content management system (CMS). Or, focus on increasing engagement along the patient journey with Samsung’s versatile range of interactive displays.

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Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes is a well-known veteran in the digital signage industry. He consults to some of the world’s largest brands on their digital signage strategy and technical needs, but also spends time mentoring start-ups. A former daily newspaper journalist, Haynes has for the past decade written a highly-respected blog about digital signage, Sixteen:Nine. Follow Dave on twitter @sixteennine

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