Whether it’s a large hospital or a family physician’s office, the modern waiting room is the new hub of patient engagement. It’s a unique space where hospitals have a captive audience of patients who are focused on their care needs. This presents an opportunity that smart practices and hospitals can’t afford to ignore.

The physician’s office or hospital waiting room is an environment with multiple factors at play, all of which impact patients’ receptiveness to treatment and perception of care, which is especially important in an age when HCAHPS and CG CAHPS scores can impact a healthcare organization’s bottom line.

The atmosphere of the waiting room hinges on everything from lighting to layout, and it can be elevated by digital signage. With the right technology upgrades, healthcare providers have the ability to educate, entertain and even soothe waiting patients, creating an all-around better patient experience.

Communicating with patients

Leveraging the possibilities of a modern waiting room starts with a shift in mindset. Providers and administrators must understand that the waiting room is one of the first points of contact for patient engagement, and then turn that knowledge into action.

The biggest display opportunity in the waiting area is sharing queue information. Rather than patients waiting and waiting to hear their name, they can just check the display. And they can gauge whether they have time to go to the bathroom or grab a coffee.

Instead of hanging posters or pinning notices to a bulletin board, hospital staff can use 4K UHD displays, such as the QBR Series or the Pro TV, to share hospital news or promote events. Messaging and content can be targeted depending on the day of the week or time of the day — an approach called “dayparting.” During flu season, for example, displays can share information about how to schedule a flu vaccine.

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Displays with a split-screen setting make it easy for facilities to simultaneously present videos or broadcast TV along with relevant information such as how to check in. Numerous studies have found that digital signage that presents entertaining or relevant educational content can reduce perceived wait times.

In addition to keeping patients engaged while they wait, healthcare organizations can create additional revenue by selling advertising space to local businesses or e-commerce brands. A study by waiting room media network AccentHealth noted that doctors reported a 50 percent increase in same-day discussions of advertised brands, and 63 percent of their patients indicated that they discussed or planned to discuss an advertised product or condition after engaging with waiting room display content. While a waiting room shouldn’t be full of flashing lights and scrolling ads, displayed ads can be designed in a tactful way.

Calming loved ones in the waiting room

Digital signage can also be used in the waiting rooms outside of surgical units to keep patients’ loved ones informed. Knowing at a glance whether someone is still in the operating room, or how long they’ve been in surgery, can help calm anxieties. And it answers the questions that often pull healthcare workers away from other important duties.

Implementing the technology

To add digital signage to your waiting area, the room needs to be equipped with one or more commercial displays that can be managed remotely and allow you to deliver customized content based on facility or physician preferences. Content can be created and scheduled from any PC, just by dragging and dropping images or video files into flexible signage templates.

Much of patient satisfaction and the patient experience is based on personal perception, which is often formed from the moment a patient walks through the door. Digital signage engages, informs and educates patients — and their loved ones — when their health is top of mind.

Any healthcare practice or facility hoping to better engage with patients can benefit from digital signage. Learn more by checking out some of Samsung’s innovative healthcare displays. And discover how digital displays can empower caregivers, engage patients, and elevate health brands in this free, comprehensive guide.

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