Leveraging Digital Signage in Hospitals

Posted on December 13, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One thing I love about living in Las Vegas is that we have every conference imaginable in our lovely town. It turns out that most people in healthcare love this as well since it means that they can make a regular trip to Las Vegas for work. My most recent conference find is the Digital Signage Expo, February 26-28 and it has a surprising number of good healthcare focused content at the event.

As I thought about it more, digital signage is popping up everywhere in hospitals. For example, these are some of the areas that digital signage is used in hospitals to engage patients:

  • Digital Signage at Hospital Bedsides
  • Digital Signage in Lobbies
  • Digital Signage in Dining Area
  • Digital Signage in ED

However, the digital signage isn’t just seen by patients, but can also be a great way for hospitals to communicate important messages to clinical staff as well. Here are a few places where digital signage can engage the hospital staff:

  • Digital Signage in Nursing Units
  • Digital Signage in Employee Break Rooms
  • Digital Signage in Physician Lounges

Think about some of the possible benefits of properly implemented digital signage in hospitals:
Reduce Hospital Readmissions – This is a big topic in healthcare right now as hospitals search to lower costs and avoid penalties. Digital Signage can be a great way to properly educate the patients from when they step into your hospital to when they leave.

Increase Patient Compliance – Many hospitals are using their digital signage to educate their patients on discharge instructions, importance of filling and taking medications, and keeping follow up appointments with their primary care doctor.

Educate Caregivers – Many patients are recovering and unable to focus on the messaging provided, but digital signage provides an easy way to educate both the patient and their caregiver at the same time with a consistent, clear message.

Better Outcomes – This can be a particularly powerful outcome when clinical staff regularly see clinical messages. A simple example is using digital messages to improve hand washing in your hospital. An image can be a powerful motivator when it comes to promoting hand washing.

Put Patient at Ease – The right content can do amazing things to put a patient at ease during what can often be a very stressful experience.

Navigate the Facility – We often take for granted how easy it is for us to navigate the hospital. The same can’t be said for patients who visit the hospital irregularly. Digital Signage can’t help to alleviate this issue.

Patient Satisfaction – I have heard people talk about how reimbursement will soon be tied to patient satisfaction. Digital Signage is one major way to change the patient experience in your hospital for good. We will see a dramatic increase in patient satisfaction once we work to make their visit an experience.

Public Safety Alerts – In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and other disasters, I think we all can see the value of having a system available to communicate important safety alerts.

All of the above could lead to the most important result of them all: saving a life.

There’s a lot for a hospital to consider in order to achieve all of the benefits listed above using digital signage. The technology has become much more advanced, the variety of displays available is much broader, and then there’s always the challenge of how to produce and distribute the right content to these displays. Of course, this list doesn’t even include advanced functionality like the convergence of mobile technology with digital signage. That’s right. If you execute your digital signage properly, patients’ mobile devices can be a real asset to your messaging.

It seems like the Digital Signage Expo Healthcare track covers a lot of these challenges and more. Not to mention, it’s always great to hear how things are done in other industries so you can consider how that same thing can be applied to healthcare. Although, probably most interesting is Mayo Clinic’s Sharon Erdman leading a discussion on Patient Experience Design at the event.

I’d love to hear stories of how you’re using digital signage in your hospital or healthcare institution. What benefits and challenges have you seen?