Going to the hospital isn’t usually a fun experience. But most of us still do go because we know how important doing so is for our health and wellness.
However, this changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of Americans have started avoiding going to the hospital out of fear of being infected with the virus. Even as the pandemic winds down, many of these individuals will still feel uneasy about spending time in a hospital waiting room.
Lingering fear of COVID-19 is just one reason why patients may not feel entirely safe in your waiting room. Other individuals may have experienced trauma in healthcare environments or have mental health issues that make them feel uneasy.
With that in mind, you’ve probably started thinking about what steps you can take to make your patients feel safer in your waiting room. If so, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn:
- 7 tips for helping your patients feel safer in your waiting areas
- How digital signage can be a solution to this problem
- The best way to add digital signage to your healthcare facility
7 waiting room solutions for your patients to feel safer
Keep your patients informed about your processes
Often, we feel the least safe when we’re unsure of what’s happening around us. Healthcare settings often magnify that fear for patients who have had poor experiences with them in the past.
You can eliminate this source of worry by making more of an effort to keep your patients informed about your processes while they’re in your waiting room.
For example, you could use digital signage to display a step-by-step list showing your patients what their experience at your facility will be like from start to finish. Or you could show a display that indicates the estimated amount of time that patients will spend in the waiting room before seeing a care provider.
You might even display information about what visits with your physicians will be like. Ultimately, the more that you can tell a patient about what they will experience, the better they will start to feel.
Be proactive about explaining enhanced safety procedures
Many patients’ fear of healthcare facilities stems from the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk of being infected with the coronavirus. One way to alleviate those fears is to let your patients know the steps that you’re taking to reduce risks and keep them safe.
For example, you can use your digital signage screens to highlight the enhanced safety procedures you’re using. You might even want to show statistical evidence pointing out the effectiveness of the procedures you’ve chosen. This information will let your patients know that you’re doing everything in your power to keep them safe.
Offer pre-visit registration and contactless intake
Some of your patients may feel unsafe about the actual process of checking into your waiting rooms due to previous trauma, anxiety or other mental health concerns. You can accommodate the needs of these individuals by letting them handle their check-in process on their own.
For example, you might create a pre-visit patient registration portal on your website. Similarly, you could use digital signage to create interactive check-in kiosks. These allow patients to check themselves in if they want, which will increase feelings of safety in your waiting room.
It’s worth mentioning that adding these services to your healthcare facility can help optimize your staff’s efficiency as well. If patients can check themselves in, your administrative staff will be free to focus more of their efforts elsewhere.
Decrease the amount of time a patient spends in your waiting room
No matter what you do, it will be difficult to make every patient that you see feel completely safe in your waiting area. That’s why you may also want to focus some of your efforts on simply reducing the amount of time that the average patient spends waiting at your healthcare facility.
To do this, think about the parts of your process that don’t need to take place in your facility. For example, you likely don’t need your patients to fill out all of their intake forms at your clinic. Allowing them to do so at home could cut their waiting time in half.
You may also want to analyze your patient flows throughout the day to see where you have opportunities to improve bottlenecks.
For example, you might notice that patients end up having to wait a bit longer just before the lunch hour because your staff is coming and going from their lunch breaks. Once you’ve identified a bottleneck like that, you can take corrective action to improve your waiting experience for your patients.
Show streaming video content in your waiting room
Another way to make patients feel safer in your waiting room is to keep them distracted from some of their anxiety. Streaming video content is perfect for this.
For example, you can use digital signage to show your patients regional sports, news, viral videos, movies and streaming TV. Another cool thing about digital signage is that you’ll get to pick the ads that air between the content that you show.
This can be super helpful if you want to advertise new services that you’re offering to patients. It can also save you from awkward situations like inadvertently advertising a medication that would be inappropriate for your patients.
Create seating areas with separation
Some of your patients will feel much safer in your waiting area if they’re able to distance themselves from other patients. Make social distancing simple for your patients by reorganizing your seating layout.
If you have space, it’s best to create seating pods that are at least somewhat separated from one another. These pods will allow your patients to sit with their families but remain separated from other individuals.
Bring your waiting room to the patient’s living room
Ultimately, some of your patients will never feel entirely safe in a healthcare facility’s waiting room due to previous events in their life. For these patients, it may make sense for your clinic to begin seeing them at their homes with a new telehealth offering.
Telehealth has grown considerably throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and it appears to be here to stay. Investing in that capability now will not only help some of your patients feel safer but will also prepare your facility for a successful future.
Digital signage can help you create a safer waiting room
As you might have noticed, many of the solutions listed above involved the use of digital signage. So what is that, exactly?
Digital signage is a type of electronic sign that companies use to advertise their products, keep their customers entertained and optimize their business procedures. Your hospital can do the same.
To start using digital signage, you need each of the following three things:
Let’s take a quick look at each of these components and review why they’re needed. Hardware encompasses screens, mounts and the other physical components of digital signage. It’s needed to share your content with your patients.
Software is the program that you use to manage your digital signage campaigns. You can usually access it on any internet-enabled device. It will allow you to create new displays and manage the rotation of your existing displays, among other things.
Content is what you’re displaying to your patients through your digital signage. It can include streaming entertainment channels, ads, reviews, health and safety information and anything else you want to share with your patients.
What types of digital signage are best for healthcare facilities?
There are lots of different ways to customize your digital signage solution so that it meets your healthcare facility’s goals. That means there is no inherently right or wrong digital signage selection. Rather, you should just pick whatever helps you reach your goals.
For example, you might want to begin allowing patients to check themselves in. If so, you would want to choose touchscreen digital signage so that you can use them to create interactive kiosks.
Alternatively, your goal may be to keep your patients entertained while they wait. In that case, it may be better for you to prioritize larger screens that your patients will be able to see from many angles.
Use UPshow to power your digital signs
One of the most important parts of adding digital signage to your healthcare facility is picking the right software. That’s why you should check out UPshow’s digital signage software solution for healthcare clinics.
Our platform makes it incredibly easy for your hospital to:
- Educate patients
- Boost sales
- Enhance waiting room TV
- Solicit reviews
- Keep your patients feeling safe
- And so much more
But don’t take our word for it. You can schedule a custom demo with us today to learn more about what we can do for you.