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Carolinas Healthcare System: Pushing the Limits

When CMC-NorthEast wanted to push out communications to medical staff, they approached Technical Innovation, a digital signage reseller in the area. “The reseller was the true expert,” says Todd Redden, EdD, Executive Director of Physician Education, Medical Staff Services and Research. “We were seeking a cutting edge method for publishing content creatively.” The Public Relations department also wanted a solution for providing content to the general public who visit the facility. They chose AxisTV, the primary healthcare digital signage solution offered by Visix.

Expansion capability was a key factor in their decision to implement AxisTV throughout Carolinas HealthCare System. As Scott White, Senior Director for Public Relations tells us, “Carolinas HealthCare has been a public not-for-profit since the 40s. We began our expansion in the 90s, and today have 33 hospitals affiliated. We want to promote the bigger picture – what Carolinas HealthCare is, what we do, why we do it, plus we want to be specific to each facility as well.” Since Redden’s primary focus at CMC-NorthEast was medical staff communications, displays were originally placed in the physician lounges, with additional displays added for employees and the public.

Cathy-Jo Long, RCP, Program Coordinator for Physician Education and the primary content creator, has recently changed the way she formats content. “When we first started using the system,” she says, “we used PowerPoint. Then I started converting PowerPoint images to video files for more dramatic transitions.” She has also started incorporating scannable QR and 2D tags into displayed content. “We use tags to allow our audience to register for classes and get information on upcoming events and seminars.” These tags seem perfect for a target audience always on the move. “Time is very precious to our physicians, so they can use their smartphones to capture information as they go from one place to another.” This is also a way for Long to measure how successful their communications are. “This process saves time, so physicians can spend quality time with their patients.”

“We work with each hospital’s administrators to find out what their needs are,” says White. “We then combine that with our overall message.” As far as the overall message of Carolinas HealthCare, Redden explains, “We want a positive message for our physicians and those we serve on a daily basis. Reminders of departmental meetings might also be displayed – anything to inform and uplift our medical staff.” White elaborates, “At the ‘information stations’ as we call them, we can create vignettes about patients as well as a tour of the new operating suite.” These types of bulletins can target the public, as well. “We also have wayfinding throughout the hospital. Future expansions may include adding information stations at Charlotte shopping malls with general health information telling people where they can access healthcare they need within Carolinas HealthCare system.”

The team has created a communications plan that is very comprehensive and ambitious. “What we have is very dynamic and ever-expanding,” says Redden. “Cathy-Jo and Scott’s team push AxisTV digital signage to the limits. They’ve really been able to use it to the fullest.” Long is constantly working to create engaging content for the digital signage system. “I continue to push this product to do more. We’ve had very positive responses from our stakeholders including physicians and administrators regarding the evolving style and eye-catching designs of our digital information delivery systems.” White adds, “The response is rapid – we can send out messages almost immediately, and the scope is very wide. It’s also an extremely flexible system – the more we use it, the more ways we think of to use it.”