Can you think of anything much more frustrating than waiting to be seen at the doctor’s office (besides having to wait in an emergency room or urgent care facility, anyway)? Generally speaking, if you’re being made to wait around in any of these situations, you are sick or injured. Possibly even very sick or very injured, which means you’re also stuck with a range of discomfort from moderate to extreme, which could also involve various degrees of pain. In these cases, even trying to focus on content on a tablet or smartphone can be too much work. So much for electronic distraction, right?
Healthcare environments are often where digital signage can really shine, making a measurable impact on patient experience by reducing stress and anxiety. Some of these signs offer information related to the hospital itself, which can include anything from cafeteria menus to doctor profiles or announcements about upcoming health-related workshops. Other hospitals prefer to steer completely away from anything serious in nature, opting instead for pure distraction in the form of popular television show clips, using the digital displays for entertainment over education. Still others decide on a middle ground, featuring clips from shows which focus on wellness, such as healthy cooking, exercise or meditation.
Deciding what content to feature depends greatly on the primary audience; certain digital content will play better to those waiting to be seen in one context over another, but with the variety of options available today, there is something out there that is appropriate for just about any environment. And the good news is, just about anything will distract waiting patients, therefore lowering anxiety and ability to tolerate their current state of discomfort, whatever it may be.
While educational or entertaining content is one way to use digital signage in a hospital environment, engaging and empowering patients is another. Some emergency rooms and urgent care centers are moving toward displaying continually updating waiting lists, so patients know when they can expect to be seen. This is also helpful to front-desk staff, who can spend more time helping to check in the patient in front of them, instead of answering questions from those already registered about they will be seen. Other hospitals are using touchscreen technology to make the switch an almost completely digital registration system, at least for scheduled, non-emergency visits, which puts patients in charge of checking themselves in for appointments, limiting the need for front desk staff even further.
The use of digital signage in healthcare environments may have started off slowly, but it is now growing at an incredible pace, regardless of how it’s implemented. While certainly an investment, it is a wise one that can result in greater patient trust and loyalty. REDYREF understands what makes digital signage work; we invite you to submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today and we will be there every step of the way to help design, fabricate and install the best possible digital signage solution for your environment’s unique needs and goals.