Engaging Patients Through Interactive Technology


Digital Signage and Engaging Patients

If you are from Hartford you know when you see a red umbrella it means Travelers Insurance.  If you have ever flown in or out of the Hartford Airport I am sure you remember the Travelers interactive wall as you are heading to baggage and the exit. You can’t really forget it, no matter how old you are you really just want to break the umbrellas up and it can’t help but make you smile. I think they call that advertising at its best.

ADCentricity, a leader in location based digital media advertising, reports that US digital out-of-home (DOOH) media spending will hit near $4.5 billion in 2013. Digital signage, interactive technology, and out-of-home networks are the buzz words to know when it comes to this innovative technology.  So what does it all mean and where does it cross paths with health IT or even health care? Where can you see the newest of this technology? Here is what I found out.

Digital Signage is the electronic displays you see all over showing messages. Interactive Technology is software and devices that have back and forth actions with users. Out-of-home networks are dynamic media distributed across placed-based networks. You find them in places like bars, health clubs, and sporting arenas in forms of video screens, kiosks, or jumbotrons.

So how might a physician use this technology in a practice these days? Most of those that are selling digital signage advertise one of its uses is for improving communication. That sounds like it would fit in with this whole patient engagement initiative quite nicely. No one can dispute they have spent some down time in their doctors office. Physicians should consider engaging their patients from the minute they walk in the door. Instead of the first sign they see being “No Cell Phones”, why not greet them with interactive signs they can interface with their cell phones?

In Stage 2 of the CMS EHR Incentive Program there are two objectives required by eligible professional that require patient engagement to meet the measure.

  1. Use certified EHR technology to identify patient-specific education resources and provide those resources to the patient if appropriate.
  2. Provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within four business days of the information being available to the EP.

Providing patient-specific education to patients doesn’t necessarily have to just be printed materials they take with them. Interactive or educational software right in exam rooms can help to start the educational process. Providing patients the ability to view their health information online doesn’t mean they will actually view it there. Digital signage or video screens throughout the facility with reminders and instructions on how easy it is to create accounts and login to view personal health information could increase those who will view their health information online. Using a kiosk right in the office where patients can create their online accounts could also increase online users.

So where might you find more information and ideas on all of this technology and innovation? It looks like it will all be under the same roof in the city that is known for its own brand of signage. Check out the Digital Signage Expo which bills itself as the world’s largest international trade show dedicated to digital signage, interactive technology, and Out-of-Home networks in Las Vegas at the end of the month. They will have an industry discussion group just for healthcare led by Sharon Erdman who does Patient Experience Design at the Mayo Clinic. John Lynn at Hospital EMR and EHR also just wrote about hospitals and digital signage in his post, Leveraging Digital Signage in Hospitals.

Whatever you do in your practice these next few years, patient engagement will be key to its success. Are you keeping up with the Joneses?