Using Digital Sign Boards to Ensure Safe Movement of Hospital Visitors
Moving visitors safely around hospitals – complex and high-risk spaces – has always been a priority for healthcare organisations. Now, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, empowering hospital visitors and patients to navigate these institutions safely and effectively has become even more important. Digital sign boards can support these efforts.
From wayfinding and countering pain points, to engaging visitors with health and safety information and preventing capacity breaches, there are multiple uses for digital sign boards in hospital settings. Here are six of the most effective ways to use them:
Use digital sign boards at entrances to deter visitors with COVID-19 symptoms
One of the most effective ways to keep hospital patients and visitors safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure no one with COVID-19 symptoms enters the hospital to visit others in the first place.
While most people will understand that they should not currently visit a hospital if they have a fever or cough, hospital visitors may overlook mild symptoms. Installing digital sign boards at entrances to hospitals can help reinforce the message that even those with minor symptoms associated with COVID-19 should not enter the hospital.
Use dynamic content to emphasise the dangers and risks a visitor with COVID-19 poses to the hospital community. Where testing – such as temperature testing or symptom screenings – is being performed at the door, digital sign boards can also be used to explain the testing process, how visitors should prepare for their test, and what they will be expected to do.
Use wayfinding kiosks
When it comes to visitor management in any complex space, wayfinding kiosks are a very useful piece of tech.
With numerous wards, departments, waiting rooms, reception areas and no-go zones, hospitals are one of the most complex and daunting spaces visitors have to navigate. When you add to this the fact that hospital visitors may be in a stressed or upset state of mind when navigating the space, wayfinding kiosks can be a huge help.
Place wayfinding kiosks at hospital entrances and at locations where visitors are likely to take a wrong turn. Consider how many kiosks you need to install in order to prevent bottlenecks and queues forming at the times with highest footfall. Not only will this make the experience easier for visitors, but it will help to stop lost visitors wandering around the hospital and interacting with more people, which is vital for health and safety in the COVID-19 era.
Place digital signs at pain points
A wayfinding system can also be bolstered through the use of digital signs, which clearly direct people to different wards and departments along different routes within the hospital. These will be most useful at entrances and forks along the path, as well as along long corridors, to reassure visitors they are heading in the right direction and stop them from doubling back and increasing exposure risks.
Once installed, regularly change the content on the screens to address visitors’ pain points. For example, if you’re dedicating your screens along one route to directing people to the cardiac department, but you then find that the vast majority of people get lost on their way to the rheumatology department, you can update your content to facilitate better wayfinding.
Use digital signs to ensure maximum capacity is not exceeded
In the COVID and early post-COVID eras, social distancing must be observed. For reception rooms and waiting areas, this means cutting the area’s maximum capacity.
Digital signs can be used outside these waiting areas to prevent additional individuals wandering in and breaching capacity guidelines. A simple traffic light system can be used in the first instance, followed by directions to an overflow space where visitors can wait until they are permitted to proceed to their original destination.
Strategically convey health and safety information
Depending on the infection rate in your particular location, health and safety information surrounding COVID-19 can change rapidly. Digital signage allows hospitals to present up-to-date local and nationwide information surrounding the pandemic.
Where traditional flyers and posters can easily be overlooked, the dynamic nature of digital screens is designed to engage visitors with its subject matter. Use content to relay the latest health and safety guidance, as well as instructions on how this applies within the hospital too. Are there new no-go zones, or do all non-essential visitors suddenly need to leave the hospital? Digital screens are an effective way to communicate timely updates to visitors without the need for human interaction.
Use digital signs in waiting rooms to keep visitors up-to-date
Whether they’re outpatients waiting for a procedure, or the family of a patient undergoing surgery, hospital visitors can become impatient in waiting rooms. This is understandable: it’s often a highly emotional time, and given possible COVID-19 risks, the last thing people want to do is sit in a waiting room with strangers any longer than necessary.
As a result, it’s become common for people to request more frequent updates from the reception desk. Not only does this risk overwhelming the reception desk, but it also causes queues to form and more human interaction to take place than is necessary.
Digital signs can be used to update people in the waiting area on where they are in the queue to see the doctor or nurse. They can also provide comfort to friends and relatives who are waiting for a patient to come out of surgery, by providing the time the surgery started, when it is expected to end, and when the operation has ended. The result is more satisfied visitors and less burden and risk to hospital reception teams.
Want more information on how digital signage can be used to improve wayfinding and the visitor experience at your hospital? Reach out to Engagis for a customised assessment.