By: Laura Wasson, Executive Director of Healthcare
When the first wave of COVID-19 hit, the healthcare industry faced numerous logistical challenges. Much of the national discussion focused on the number of available personnel, beds, ventilators, and tests. One of the biggest hurdles, however, was preventing coronavirus spread within the healthcare facilities themselves.
As hospitals established their operating protocols in a COVID world, one thing became increasingly clear: facilities that had already implemented digital signage and messaging had a considerable advantage. During a viral outbreak, the ability to display vital safety information in real-time and limit human interaction has been invaluable.
Now, both the acute and long-term care industries are taking notice. Digital signage looks to be a growing presence in the healthcare landscape during the pandemic and as a long-term value add.
Minimizing Interaction in the Present, Improving Patient Flow for the Future
Digital signage is a generic umbrella term, and for many, it evokes the image of wall-mounted TV screens displaying menus in restaurants or sales in stores. However, in the healthcare industry, its functionality is much more versatile and even more essential.
When implemented properly, digital signage provides an efficiency optimization that begins when a patient or visitor walks through the door. Patient intake has historically required waiting for assistance at the front desk. Instead, interactive kiosks allow patients to check-in and provide/update patient information on a touchscreen platform, dramatically speeding up the process.
When COVID made shared touchscreen use inadvisable, digital signage adapted, allowing for “touchless” check-in via integration with patients’ mobile devices. Even when COVID cases begin to wane, these contactless solutions are likely to become a standard offering for expedited check-in, appointment scheduling, and even billing.
In a contactless COVID-19 environment, interactive wayfinding stations help patients and visitors find their destinations quickly and efficiently. This improves safety outcomes by removing the need for in-person assistance and preventing crowded hallways due to confused or lost patients and visitors. In the long term, wayfinding stations free up personnel, reducing strain on staff.
Long Term Care Applications
The benefits of digital signage during COVID may be most visible in hospitals and other acute care facilities; but long-term care communities stand to gain a great deal from this technology as well.
Keeping residents up to date with the latest information and safety protocols is vital during a pandemic. However, many communities are operating with reduced staff, and still attempting to keep direct interaction with residents to a minimum to prevent outbreaks within the facility. Digital signage provides a contactless alternative to traditional bulletin boards. Information can be easily updated from the convenience of the office.
In addition, digital signage can display information in a larger, more readable format than bulletin boards using a slideshow format, as well as include helpful videos or graphics.
Beyond COVID, these displays can be used to communicate with residents in a more engaging, dynamic, and accessible format. High-definition photos can accompany dining menus or notices about upcoming activities. In the event of other future emergencies, the operator can push notifications or essential information about the situation to all digital signage within a facility in seconds.
Part of the New Normal
Before long, digital signage will no longer be viewed as a slick, stylish upgrade, but an essential solution in the healthcare space. Digital communication is only becoming more valuable with time, and savvy healthcare administrators are already getting ahead of the curve.
Any healthcare facility can benefit from this technology, but implementation is essential, as is making sure to select a set of solutions that suit your needs. Tech Electronics can help design a digital display suite that enables you to achieve your goals while staying on-budget. Contact us today for a consultation with our healthcare and audiovisual experts.