The healthcare industry is really based on trust – people feel like a particular hospital or clinic is a “good” one, and when they find a doctor they like, they tend to stay with them. In the hotel industry, it’s a well-known axiom that a guest’s impression of a place is made in the first 10 minutes – the same is true for a healthcare venue. You can use hospital digital signage to give people a sense of efficiency and well-being, making them more loyal to your facility.
When someone first comes in, everything should be clear and easy to negotiate. There’s a fair chance that they are feeling some stress, and everything you can do to help alleviate that helps promote your overall goals.
One thing a lot of people do at hospitals is wait. Your digital signs can reduce perceived wait times – not the actual amount of time spent waiting, but the perception of it. When people see a queuing system or a countdown of how long they have left to wait, they feel more in control, and so feel less anxiety. This simple thing alone helps give visitors and patients a better experience.
In clinical environments, distractions have been shown to lower anxiety and stress, and reduce perceptions of pain. This is another great thing your hospital digital signage can be used for. Attractively designed messages, especially ones that include some sort of motion, draw the eye to screens. News tickers, traffic info, and weather forecasts are all bits of useful information visitors will appreciate having, and will also take their minds off why they are there in the first place.
The more info you can give, the more at ease your visitors will be. Where’s the cafeteria? Is the gift shop open yet? How can I get a taxi home? Giving people this kind of assistance via your digital displays means they won’t be asking your staff these questions. This leads to more efficiency for both the public and internal employees. The same goes for hospital wayfinding – interactive touchscreens that map out how to get to specific locations in the facility lets people become more self-reliant, which again reduces anxiety and stress, and saves staff time and focus.
Part of providing good healthcare is prevention and education. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, only 12% of Americans are considered proficient in health literacy – that means the ability to read a prescription, follow written directions accurately, etc. Digital signage works because it’s visual and very memorable. Surveys show that 75% of people who see digital signs in hospitals can recall at least one message. That’s a phenomenal percentage. Putting short messages on screens in public areas can help to raise the health literacy percentage in your area, making for fewer trips to the hospital.
With America’s cultural diversity on the increase, language issues can also become a problem. Having interactive touchscreens and kiosks in your facility allows you to present multiple language options for information and advice on a single screen.
Many healthcare facilities are beginning to incorporate new kinds of communications tools to bolster their community outreach. They’re using messaging via texts and email, blogs and social networks to provide basic info, health tips and answers to FAQs.
If you implement such a system, your digital signage is a great place to advertise it. QR tags and short URLs let people immediately access your telehealth system or app. They might even get the answers they need and no longer have to wait in the queue.
And your digital signage itself doesn’t have to just be on site. You can extend your messages to a webpage, or even an app that turns people’s mobile devices into extensions of your hospital digital signage system. Anything with a screen can be a digital sign.
Using modern communication technologies can make things easier for your visitors and patients, and also for staff. Good messaging on digital signs can focus on people’s needs to reduce their stress, answer their questions and educate them – all of which brings a more humanistic context to your communications.