The relationship between patient and healthcare provider is extraordinarily important and, like all relationships, needs work to maintain and mutually gratify. Without care, a dissatisfied patient may seek another doctor or publicize their discontent, influencing other potential patients.
One component of patient satisfaction is wait times. Clinical provider scores which measure confidence in the care provider and quality of care received have been shown to suffer when patients are made aware of how long they've been waiting. [1] To improve HCAHPS and CAHPS scores, patients need to have a positive experience with their healthcare provider. Digital Signage can help.
1. Check-In
The first impression of a healthcare provider facility is made at check-in. Making check-in accessible, welcoming, and easy is vital in helping patients know they're in the right place.
2. Education
The purpose of visiting the doctor is to get direct information about what ails the patient. Accessible information prior to and throughout the visit benefits the patient and doctor alike. It ensures the patient experience is complete and every question is answered.
3. Entertainment
While some patients want new data, others are looking for a distraction to pass the time. Most will rely on their phones. When they break from their own screens, however, they will seek another form of distraction. Digital Signage is the new and improved waiting-room magazine pile.
4. Staff bios
Many are visiting a doctor for the first time and know very little about them. To build confidence, calm, and create familiarity, digital displays can feature brief doctor and nurse biographies. A smile and a friendly face go a long way.
5. Events and Promotions
From flu shot bookings to promoting the latest medicines, digital displays are advertising space that will actually catch the viewer's eye. Your patients are a captive audience for relevant and timely information. Share it with them.
6. Patient Queue Updates
By seeing their name on the screen, patients can know they are not forgotten. Displaying their actual time to being called will alleviate anxiety, but even just a list of who's next assures and comforts during long waits.
Digital Signage is vital to creating the right atmosphere for patients from the beginning of their visit. They entertain, educate, and improve check-in and queue efficiency, raising the overall patient experience. Clinics who use these displays even see an increase in business, between 15% and 150%. [2]
Longer wait times in hospitals, clinics, and medical offices negatively affect overall patient satisfaction. Every stage of the process (checking in, waiting to be called, waiting for the doctor) adds to the frustration and potentially unfavorable outlook a patient has toward their doctor and staff, and the facility at large.
Chart Showing Negative Affect on Satisfaction Scores Due to Long Wait Times
- AJMC survey data from patients [1]
63 percent reported the time spent waiting in the lobby of the doctor's office was their biggest stressor.
- Consumer survey from HIT Consultant [3]
When patients enter a waiting area, they look for where to check in. Lacking guidance, they will approach the person at the front desk. That member of the staff is then impacted by repeated interruptions which could be resolved with Digital Signage.
With Digital Signage, patients can be led to check-in kiosks, advised of necessary paperwork, or directly provided with a QR code, allowing them to submit intake data and reserve their place in the queue using their personal devices.
As part of the welcoming procedure, the same display can advise people of policies and standard check-in practices, including health and safety guidelines. Even displaying a map with bathroom locations can save unnecessary questions and valuable staff time.
"Sixty percent of provider organizations that use patient intake systems said the tool helped them become more efficient, focus more on the patient experience, and eliminate some overhead costs associated with traditional paper patient intake strategies." [4]
When people are bored, unoccupied, and uninformed, the passage of time feels longer than it is. Entertainment and education do a lot for improving the quality of time while waiting, but visitors want concrete numbers as well.
"According to studies, over 55% of patients wish they had access to estimated wait times on a screen in a waiting room. Additionally, 61% of patients would like a text message notification to alert them about their turn." [5]
There are several queue applications which can be integrated into waiting room displays. Waitwhile (now available in CloudShow) allows patients to join the queue remotely or in person, with an open line of communication regarding their status.
The same status can be displayed via Digital Signage in the waiting room. When combined with self check-in, Digital Signage becomes a complete queue system reducing the burden on staff and increasing patient awareness and satisfaction.
An informed patient is a satisfied patient. With digital options, information is more accessible before, after, and during a healthcare visit. With the knowledge and expertise they came for, patients will leave the doctor confident and comforted.
"Video education is a more powerful education medium." [6] With 70% of hospitals now providing digital communication systems, patients often find health information via Digital Signage. 75% of patients and caregivers who viewed health information through these systems said the content enhanced their hospital experience. [2]
Patients want to be well-informed, especially when it comes to information about their illness and related remedies. Because of the familiarity with digital screens, delivering that information via a screen makes them more comfortable and capable of retaining it.
"A 2018 survey conducted by SERMO on behalf of PatientPoint and think tank Digital Health Coalition revealed that 95 percent of clinicians use some sort of clinic education tool, whether it be through bedside tablets, waiting room television screens, or mHealth tools that patients can use on their phones inside or outside the clinic." [7]
"At Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York City, patient education through video has increased by 93 percent, and patient satisfaction levels have increased by double digits year after year." [6]
Digital Signage can provide the same summary and factual information as pamphlets, while saving on paper costs. Directing patients to more information online or encouraging focused questions from patients can enhance the overall patient experience, well after they've left the doctor.
"The more engaged and educated hospital patients are, the better they manage their conditions from home. This is better for patients' long-term health and keeps hospitals from being penalized on CMS reimbursements for readmissions." [6]
1. By creating your own slide deck in Power Point you can easily control themes and design, timing of the slides, and add or freshen content anytime.
2. When using news apps, look for categories like 'Science' or 'Technology' which appeal to a broader audience and lack the potential violence of standard news.
3. Creating your own playlist through Spotify ensures the songs meet your standards and exclude advertisements and DJ chatter.
4. With apps like SocialWall and Wallrus, patients can engage with your various social media accounts and see their own messages on display.
5. News and weather are great, but for teen audiences, consider showcasing Twitch streams or select YouTube channels.
6. Promote your website and create custom videos to promote particular features of your facility.
7. Not a designer? Use the Canva app's built-in templates and design elements.
"50% of people seek out photos or videos of doctors before making an appointment." [8] Visiting a doctor, especially for the first time, can be intimidating for a patient. They may forget questions they had previously prepared or generally be uncomfortable during the initial meeting.
Doctors don't have time to properly present their backgrounds and fields of knowledge to every patient. Digital Signage in the waiting rooms can help introduce doctors before they even walk into the exam room, mitigating communication apprehension.
"Communication Apprehension (CA) was reduced the greatest when participants viewed video biographies and biographies containing personal information about the physicians. Participants indicated they would want to visit the physician with whom they had the lowest level of CA." [9]
A headshot and basic background are standard entries for a biography (tips: provide a name pronunciation, and a candid photo with a smile), but consider adding a quote or the story of why you became a physician. List your hobbies and interests, or your favorite sports team. Make it easy for the patient to break the ice and ease the tension.
For every patient that craves education and information, there is one who wants entertainment and distraction. "Distractions help to alleviate the pain, discomfort and anxiety most hospital inpatients feel." [6] The content of Digital Signage aids in reducing patient perception of wait times, lowers anxiety and stress, all of which elevates the mood of the waiting room and queues, improving engagement with the staff.
A variety of entertainment choices are available through Digital Signage: slideshows, news, music, weather, social posts, sports scores, YouTube videos, even the NASA Deep Space Network. Customization and audience-friendly choices are important when setting up Digital Signage for the variety of incoming patients.
One advantage of controlling the entertainment is limiting the content and subsequent advertising that may be inappropriate to certain audiences. News and sports updates will appeal to many, but is likely ineffective as entertainment for a pediatrician's waiting room. There are multiple YouTube channels dedicated to educational videos for kids of all ages, from general entertainment to more focused topics like music, math, and science.
From health programs to fundraisers and ads for other local businesses, Digital Signage can bring more to patients than what's happening in the waiting room.
Getting people to immunization clinics or general health programs is difficult with just a sign-up sheet and a reminder from a nurse. When the waiting room display posts dates and times, along with links to websites for details, interest and attendance rise. In a National Flu Survey, 25% of people said they were more likely to get a flu vaccine after seeing advertising for it. [10]
Tip: The CDC offers campaign toolkits with videos and infographics that can easily be incorporated into digital displays.
Digital Signage allows any type of advertising, even paid ads. Other local businesses can reserve a portion of time on waiting room digital displays, but forming a tight-knit circle of shared advertising boosts community morale and economics. Other businesses advertising local healthcare practices creates an exchange of marketing efforts and new revenue for everyone.
Through entertainment, Digital Signage improves the perception of wait times. Even if the patient must wait a long time, it won't feel as long, and their overall experience remains positive. For those watching the clock, transparency is equally crucial. Displaying clear wait-time updates keeps visitors assured of their place in the queue and confident they will be seen. By providing more efficient check-in tools and prominent answers to common questions and procedures, Digital Signage reduces actual wait times.
Digital Signage is a vital resource and tool for healthcare providers, improving survey scores, medical visit experiences, and overall patient satisfaction.
[1] C. B. MD, "Wait Times, Patient Satisfaction Scores, and the Perception of Care," The American Journal of Managed Care (Issue 5), p. 8, 2014.
[2] G. D. Villiers, "MVIX blog," 9 June 2020. https://mvixdigitalsignage.com/blog/digital-signage-statistics-infographic/.
[3] Jasmine Pennic, "HIT Consultant," 06 04 2016. https://hitconsultant.net/2016/04/06/33048/#.YNnio_lKhPZ. [Accessed 06 2021].
[4] Sara Heath, "Patient Engagement HIT," https://patientengagementhit.com/news/digital-patient-intake-technology-gaining-popularity-in-healthcare. [Accessed June 2021].
[5] Kirill Tsernov, "Qminder Blog," https://www.qminder.com/healthcare-waiting-room/. [Accessed 06 2021].
[6] Taylor Mallory Holland, "Samsung Insights," 29 April 2016. [Online]. https://insights.samsung.com/2016/04/29/how-patient-entertainment-systems-boost-satisfaction-and-health-outcomes/. [Accessed 06 2021].
[7] Sara Heath, "Patient Engagement HIT," https://patientengagementhit.com/news/4-health-technologies-that-boost-patient-experience-satisfaction. [Accessed 06 2021].
[8] Haley Hite, "Aha Media," 8 05 2019. https://ahamediagroup.com/blog/2019/05/how-to-use-physician-bios-to-attract-new-patients-6-examples/. [Accessed 06 2021].
[9] E. K. Perrault, "Helping patients reduce anxiety and choose new physicians through improved provider biographies," Health Education Journal, vol. 76, no. 6, pp. 695-706, 2017.
[10] K. S. PhD, "World Health Organization," 13 07 2011. https://www.who.int/influenza_vaccines_plan/resources/sheedy.pdf. [Accessed 06 2021].
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