patient emergency area at hospital

Answer Heightened Patient Expectations Using Digital Signage

Jenn Gvozdek, Marketing Manager
July 18, 2021

Information and context are critical when communicating in any environment to any audience. This is especially true in healthcare. Both the evolution of technology and the recent pandemic have dramitically changed patient and visitor expectations around information access in healthcare. For hosiptals, clinics and healthcare systems at large, digital signage provides an efffective tool for communicating important real time information.

Does digital signage impact perceived wait times in healthcare?

There have been numerous studies that support the concept that digital signage does reduce perceived wait times. The key to this concept is “perceived.” So, why do people think they wait less? It’s all about psychology.

When people have some certainty around time, it passes faster for them. For example, if you’re a patient sitting in the ER and have zero information about an expected wait, you tend to immediately think that it’s going to be a long time. However, if a digital sign displays the approximate wait time and updates in real time, you have data that tells you what to expect.

You’re managing perceptions, not necessarily reality. Patients and their families sitting and waiting for healthcare services are likely already anxious. If you can provide them with some parameters around time, you can help ease their stress.

Occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time

Another aspect of wait time perception comes from distraction. Retail and restaurant are the industries known for these tactics. They use entertainment components in digital signage to engage the person in a queue.

Healthcare can apply it in the same way. For example, you might want to lean more into the “infotainment” realm. You can provide patients and visitors with information disguised as entertainment around healthcare best practices. 

Can digital signage help with healthcare crowd control?

There are certain moments when healthcare entities will face high demand. Hospitals and health systems have been strained since the beginning of the pandemic. While the vaccine is now available, the U.S. is still seeing rising infection and hospitalization rates.

What can healthcare organizations do to manage crowd control when there are demand spikes?

Digital signage is an option and one that can communicate effectively to manage expectations. Using signage throughout the grounds and especially at entry points can provide patients and visitors critical data from the start. Those signs could provide anticipated wait times for the ER for patients or wayfinding messages about where individuals with specific conditions or symptoms (i.e., COVID-19) should head.

Additionally, you might have overflow areas to help non-COVID patients and should point those people to the right space. Being able to navigate people to the right spot is crucial for managing crowds in healthcare spaces.

Communicating in real time

Real time information is critical and digital signage networks can be connected to a variety of real time data sources. Whether it is news and weather feeds or IOT devices or emergergency notifications, digital signage gets information to people when and where they need it.

In the case of emergency notifications, such as fire alarms, digital signage can be used to provide supplementary information such as the best exit.

Internally within healthcare facilities digital signage can provide critical staffing or scheduling information. Additionally, combined with IOT devices it can highlight whether rooms are free or occupied. In many cases this reduces demand on healthcare workers so they can focus on more important tasks.

Digital signage solutions enhance the patient experience

Healthcare facilities are often dealing with people under a high level of stress. Digital signage provides a vehicle to effectively communicate, answer questions, and provide clarity.

Explore all the benefits of digital signage for your healthcare organization today.