Digital signage systems are widely embraced by hospitals to improve patient communication, engagement, and provide assistance. Upon introduction of the value-based care model with the Affordable Care Act in 2012 that offers financial rewards and incentives to healthcare providers that meet performance, quality, and patient satisfaction scores, hospitals started investing heavily in solutions that improve quality ratings, including digital signage.
How AI Improves Digital Signage in Hospitals
Healthcare space requires a novel approach, as there are many unique challenges and regulations specific to patient care. For example, touch-enabled digital signage, while common, is one of the ways the disease can transmit in a space like a hospital, and if possible, should be avoided. Digital signage systems that are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) can recognize people upon approach, provide relevant content, and allow alternative controls (like voice or gestures) to access information.
In order to enhance patient communication and outcomes with digital signage systems, hospital networks should follow steps below to make sure technology is applied with outcomes in mind in a hospital setting.
1. Provide personalized content
Tailor content to the needs of all types of people that step in the hospital, including all patients, visitors, staff members, and across all ages. The most candid way to Ask the staff members who work at the information desk for the commonly asked inquiries. They are the ones guiding visitors, especially when there is no adequate signage to guide visitors. Typically, common questions will be transit information, wayfinding assistance, news, and classes related to the hospital, facility hours, and many more you may discover to be unique to your facility.
Once you have the information, Present it in an easily accessible, relatable language with appealing, engaging visuals for visitors to retain the information, which brings us to the next point.
2. Engage with humanized design
Interface design and language play a significant role when appealing patients and inviting them to interact with the solution, instead of directly heading over to the information desk. From far away, at first glance, the intent of the signage should be evident. For example, for an interactive wayfinding solution, the initial prompt on the screen should indicate the purpose of the solution and how visitors interact with it. A simple message such as “Are you looking for a department? - Touch now to begin. ” or even as simple as “Take me there” should suffice to inform the visitors about the intention of the system.
Ultimately, these systems are designed to support the hospital staff so that they can focus on patients that require the most attention. The visibility, placement of these solutions are critical in improving utilization rates and engagement. Primary touchpoints in the facility are; entrances, elevators, as well as busy hallways, parking structures, cafeterias, and waiting areas, which are typically the best locations to station these solutions.
3. Match signage to hospital design and messaging
There needs to be a seamless transition in hospital design elements and messaging between patient communication touchpoints. The continuity in design throughout the care journey provides a graceful experience where patients feel more connected and involved in their care.
Signage systems are great communication outlets to convey essential company values and messages. It’s very powerful to make patients and visitors feel that they are in an environment of protection, care, and support where they are in control of their experience.
4. Display proactive wayfinding information
Wayfinding in healthcare facilities is a challenge and does not usually scale well with expanding campuses and additional buildings. Poor wayfinding in hospitals causes delays in patient flow as well as adverse effects on patients’ wellbeing with added stress, costing hospitals up to $220,000 per year.
According to Shoemaker et al., 2010, effective wayfinding in hospitals:
- Reduces staff stress and fatigue,
- Increases effectiveness in care delivery,
- Improves patient safety,
- Reduces patient and family stress while improving patient outcomes,
- Improves overall healthcare quality,
- Improves overall hospital operating performance.
Successful digital wayfinding solutions should include architectural design elements used throughout the facility. Fonts, icons, and color palette used in the signs need to be also represented in the digital design style. Signage should indicate visitors’ current location, where they are in reference to the entire facility and their orientation. The map should be situated in the same direction visitors are facing to give them a sense of orientation in the building. Moreover, the directions need to be visual and memorable. Including significant landmarks in the hospitals and giving distinct characteristics to each central location will make directions more interesting and memorable. Check out our post Best Practices for Effective Hospital Wayfinding to learn more about designing an evidence-based wayfinding experience.
5. Measure engagement and outcomes - the feedback loop
In the age of AI, all new interventions need to be smarter and must be evidence-based. The analytics segment is imperative in measuring the engagement and social and financial impact as well as informing future improvements. Without having a feedback loop in place, hospitals cannot make educated decisions on catering patient’s needs and improve outcomes.
Healthcare facilities measure patient satisfaction via HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) surveys required by CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). Digital signage systems with sensors can be utilized to receive patient feedback on some of the specific areas listed on HCAHPS surveys.
In conclusion, today’s signage systems need to be smarter and have the ability to measure the engagement of the users and guide hospital management to advance the quality and efficiency of patient care further. Hospitals should choose wisely when it comes to adopting a signage solution. Systems that are exclusively designed around patient care challenges and restrictions should be preferred compared to the ones that are also offered at many other markets.
At Ouva, utilizing the power of machine learning and optical sensing, we provide a contact-free, voice-activated personalized assistance to guide patients at every step of the way and offer facilities actionable insights on how they can best elevate the care experience. Check out Ouva Smart Signage to learn more about our digital signage solution designed for hospitals.