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University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine: Striking Sustainability

Like many centers of higher learning these days, the University of Iowa has been listening to their students’ worries about the environment. In fact, Iowa’s Governor, Terry Branstad, has honored them with an Environmental Excellence Award for their efforts in sustainability – including innovative and comprehensive recycling programs, energy conservation and renewable energy sources, waste reduction programs, environmentally-friendly transportation, green cleaning practices, local food purchasing, sustainable landscaping practices and reduced water use, and transitioning to paperless digital signage solutions for business and admissions. Their AxisTV university digital signage system is a part of that commitment to sustainability.

When the University’s Carver Department of Internal Medicine’s Design Center was looking for a digital signage solution, they went to neighboring departments already using AxisTV, liked what they saw and purchased the system for themselves. “Green makes a big difference,” says Shawn Roach Creative Coordinator. “And we already had expert users on campus to support our effort.” The Department is part of a huge academic medical center, the largest multi-specialty group practice in the state. “We’re the largest department in the medical center, plus really scattered around. There are research buildings, hospitals and clinics,” says Roach. The medical center, consistently ranked one of America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, aims to provide a “functional and stimulating environment for students, faculty and staff” while providing “high-quality, patient-centered care” for patients.

For Roach and the Design Center team, the important thing was to connect with such a varied audience. “We had a need to communicate with a diverse academic medical department with more than 1,100 people,” he tells us. But it had to look good. “The Visix digital signage software allows me to display the information and design in a very professional and polished manner. The impact that our monitors make, compared to traditional bulletin boards, is astounding.” They decided to focus on areas where people frequently are. “We have three 40-inch displays, which are located in our highest traffic area – near administration – and an auditorium, where our department has many meetings.” These weekly meetings are an opportunity to expose people to the displays who might otherwise miss them.

Content focuses on department news – awards and honors, achievements and announcements. “We decided to keep things simple,” Roach says. “We just use bulletins. Images stay up for a minute, then change to keep it all fresh.” The audience has been receptive. “People appreciate the information – especially the honors and awards, which really do make a lot of people feel good. And I personally have received many positive comments about the design of the bulletins I create.” He has recently put out a suggestions box and incorporated QR tags into bulletins, and plans soon to do a formal survey to measure how successfully their communications are being received.

Digital signage messages come from just about anywhere. “Anyone can submit content to the department editor. The editor creates copy and forwards it to me for design. I also receive material from the Carver College of Medicine administration,” Roach explains. “Something can be displayed in 10-15 minutes – it’s pretty much real-time.”

Apart from wanting more monitors, Roach is very happy with the way their digital signage looks and performs. “It’s made a much greater impact – making it all more eye-catching,” he says. “The Visix system is easy to use, adaptable to our purposes, and very reliable – and it’s green.”