By Dave Bennett
From the October 2023 Issue
Healthcare is a highly competitive industry, and evolving consumerism demands patients have quick access to the information they desire. In response, healthcare leadership needs to broadly factor in satisfying these information needs to stand out as a provider of superior customer experience.
From the moment a patient or loved one enters a healthcare facility, they want to know they’ve stepped into a place where exceptional care is the standard. First impressions are crucial, and those early moments can make or break the experience for patients and families. Each step of the journey is important as healthcare teams seek to provide high-quality outcomes, reduce avoidable readmissions, and build long-lasting relationships with patients.
Even before an appointment begins, new patients, existing patients, and visitors often take measures to prepare for their visit including checking the directions and parking details. From the moment patients enter a healthcare facility, clear visual communications go a long way to ensuring a welcoming environment and digital signage can empower patients and visitors with information during a time when they may feel unsure. Reducing the stress associated with a hospital visit is essential to elevating the overall experience and creating enduring relationships. Health systems must sustain this throughout the care journey to ensure positive outcomes and ongoing patient engagement.
For healthcare organizations to deliver superior patient experiences, providing comfortable rooms for patients to receive care and spend their stay should be the top priority. Outfitting each patient room with modern, patient engagement systems leveraging comprehensive A/V endpoints including televisions and digital signs offers significant advantages. With the right system, patients can have extensive content and information sources at their fingertips that can provide education on self-care, entertainment for stress reduction, and even the ability to tap into loved ones and other experts via video chats.
Facilities can further improve patient care with in-room digital whiteboards, data-rich door entry signage, and physiological status boards. Digital signage eliminates common problems found with manual dry-erase boards used throughout a facility, automating the flow of accurate information from the Electronic Health Records (EHR) and other HIT while reducing the possibility of human error. These types of solutions offer patients more collaborative and personalized attention and ensure clinicians are well-informed upon entering the room.
Transforming Patient Care And Engagement With Digital Capabilities
Impactful patient engagement is a two-way street. Patients who are informed in their care journey and actively engaged in their health see more improvement than passive participants. Patient engagement systems aim to boost patient participation by leveraging a variety of digital signage and devices for the healing potential of collaboration, communication, and empowerment.
For example, an Interactive Patient Care System (IPS) can integrate with in-room Smart television technology and existing HIT applications to connect patients with educational information, loved ones, and their providers throughout the recovery process. Some system partners even offer a mobile version so patients can bring and use their own devices to ensure they can confidently navigate the system. The system offerings include meal ordering, room controls, prescribed educational content, entertainment, communications, and more.
Healthcare teams can also leverage data-driven systems to create an engagement roadmap to present on a familiar digital device during a patient’s initial admission. Providing credible patient education materials and displaying the information on a preferred device increases the chances a patient will interacts with the details. This approach better ensures patients are prepared with clear expectations of their specific care, which can lower the length of stay, reduce avoidable readmissions, improve safety, and enhance the overall experience.
Enhancing The Experience With Human-to-Human Care
Healthcare facilities throughout the country are opening their doors with various digital signage and high-quality smart solutions. These facilities are embedding technology at nearly every step of the patient journey, all to empower the patient and make it easier to navigate care (and the campus). From parking garage digital signage that shows visitors where there are free spaces to a digital board keeping patients updated on care and wait time, hospitals and healthcare facilities should aim to create an enterprise-wide virtual patient experience. While these solutions automate the health system for efficiency, patient care throughout health systems should remain in the hands of clinicians.
Healthcare leadership needs to be cautious with relationships when implementing emerging technologies including digital signage — especially the doctor-patient relationship. The direct interaction between the patient and doctor is a fundamental aspect of healthcare and leads to better outcomes. The best use of digital solutions and signage is to support the patient, caregiver, and family member.
From a patient engagement perspective, these tools hold significant promise for improving productivity and satisfaction. They have the ability to engage and reduce the clinician’s workload, allowing caregivers to reallocate time to patients. Healthcare should remain people-focused, and digital transformation should solely pair the human component of healthcare with groundbreaking technology to provide value at each step.
Better Outcomes Come Out Of Strong Relationships
Real-time location systems can humanize the experience in healthcare facilities and senior living communities. Read more…
The role of digital solutions is to encourage better human efficiency, not displace it. A health system in St. Louis tested this concept when it opened the doors to its smart hospital in 2020. Within this facility, digital signage technology was set up to be patient-focused, encourage the patient/clinician relationship, and further empower patient participation. The digital whiteboard links directly into the EHR and keeps patients looped into their care in real-time throughout their stay. This provides greater peace of mind for the patient and saves time for the staff.
Patient engagement is increasingly recognized as an integral part of healthcare and a critical component of safe and efficient people-centered services. People accessing health services are increasingly asking for more responsive, open, and transparent healthcare systems with easy-to-use patient tools. They expect practitioners to engage them in the decision-making process and leverage technology such as digital signage to help drive better experiences and strong collaboration to reach the best outcomes.
Bennett is the CEO of pCare. His approach to patient engagement, digital and mobile technologies, and IT integration ensure continuous innovation of the #1-KLAS ranked pCare platform and a company culture dedicated to delighting customers. Dave holds a CISM certificate from ISACA and is an active member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), and the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
Do you have a comment? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, or send an e-mail to the Editor at email@example.com.