Healthcare tech

Communicating information with patients and staff is crucial within the healthcare industry. This is where digital signage and video technology could play a huge role in improving the wellbeing of everyone who visits any professional healthcare environment.

Here, Vitec: a leading provider of digital signage and video technology solutions worldwide, offers some expert insight into how these singular platform technologies will benefit the wellbeing of everyone in the industry through their incorporation into everyday work.

Benefits for patients

Information on appointments and wait times

Whether you visit a doctor for a check-up or a planned procedure, visitors dedicate hours and even a full day for appointments. The actual appointment itself may not take that long, but the queues and wait times can vary in scale between minutes and hours. Combine this with potential shortages of available doctors, and it may leave people uncertain of how long they could be waiting.

This is where digital signage can hugely benefit practices with their implementation, offering more information about how long wait times are and dynamic videos and digestible content to pass the time while waiting. In turn, this helps prevent practices’ waiting rooms from becoming overwhelmed and over capacity. Having information available on how long the wait times could be can help inform patients on how they can fill their time at onsite facilities like a café.

Installing signage in hospitals can offer personalised information for post-surgery patients during their recovery. This information may include exercises to incorporate into their daily routines to aid their recovery, as well as details about necessary medications and their dosages.

Entertainment and engagement

Healthcare appointments can be anxiety-inducing for patients and make them feel nervous. One way to reduce these feelings while they’re waiting is by using digital signage solutions to serve as a welcome distraction.

These signs can be installed in lobbies, wards, rooms, or queuing areas and can display fun and engaging content to keep those waiting entertained and engaged. The content that can be displayed can range from TV programs streamed live, RSS news feeds, popular social media updates, educational content from experts in the healthcare industry, and much more.

Improved wayfinding

Hospitals can be huge spaces that often have wings that span multiple buildings, with an endless stream of rooms and hallways that feel impossible to distinguish between. This can lead to patients getting lost looking for their doctor’s office or returning to a room or waiting area after a test.

Adding digital signs throughout hospitals can help patients navigate the corridors and hallways to figure out where they are and in which direction they need to go. They can be set up in heavily populated areas that see a lot of footfall, and interactive maps can be used to wayfind through the digital screen.

Emergency options

One thing that data-driven video technology can do to help keep patients safe while on premises is identify the difference between what state a visitor is in. This can be anything between falling, sitting, kneeling, or picking up something they’ve dropped. This means that if a patient takes a fall, systems can alert nurses instantly, and they can respond fast, which could potentially help save lives.

Similarly, these technologies can use intelligent sound analysis to detect changes in emotion, from fear and anger to verbal aggression. This can help warn nurses of a potential conflict or danger, meaning they can respond and de-escalate the situation.

Increased patient privacy

While the prospect of video systems recording and monitoring healthcare staff and patients may instil anxiety rather than a feeling of comfort, there are ways for these systems to protect patient privacy. Most video systems only use live video without recording and blur images to prevent identification.

As technology continues to evolve, particularly with how to incorporate video to make healthcare more efficient without breaking GDPR, guidelines and plugins will be developed to ensure that personal data and the privacy of patients will be upheld.

Benefits for staff

Communication between staff and teams

Communication between nurses, whether it’s across teams or departments, can be crucial and even lifesaving in such a fast-paced environment. But this can pose a challenge, especially as many of these departments may not even be in the same building as those you need to speak with.

This is where digital signage can assist in streamlining communication, offering essential information and live updates on-screen. Not only does this reduce the time required to send messages or find colleagues for a face-to-face, but it also reduces the risk of important information being missed for time-sensitive tasks.

Messaging for information and emergencies

Acting fast is an important pillar of healthcare as an industry. Emergencies can have disastrous consequences in a matter of seconds, which is why healthcare professionals may need to send messages and information that can be read and digested quickly. Digital signage is a perfect solution, offering flashing messages that can be opened on digital screens to give everyone enough time to react to an emergency.

Similarly, patient information is traditionally found on printed charts, which get carried around and are extremely inefficient and time-consuming to produce. Digitising these forms, which can be sent and projected on signage, saves crucial time and has a positive impact on the risk of staff error.

Training and increased productivity

Healthcare professionals are constantly learning in their environments and getting training as they go can massively help improve productivity in all aspects of their day. Digital signage can offer information through educational videos, live-streamed seminars, and training modules, as well as policies and procedures for the facility to continue building on knowledge. This can help to maintain skill levels and even upskill where necessary to keep productivity up.

Improved information sharing for engagement

Visualisation can be hugely important for communicating the issues that the patient is suffering from. Installing digital signage in patient rooms can help achieve this, as doctors will be able to refer to test results, medical history, medications in use, x-rays, and other data on a screen and refer to them. This can help speed up diagnosis and advise on recovery and rehab for their ailments.

Digital signage can offer a huge number of solutions to various issues within the healthcare industry, and it will continue to evolve and develop as time goes on.