Any trip to the hospital can prove to be an anxiety and worry filled experience for many people, but one NHS trust has taken steps to improve the patient experience with the addition of digital signage and screens linked to an advanced multiscreen content management system (CMS).

Digital Signage Today reports that County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Darlington Memorial Hospital, University Hospital of North Durham and Bishop Auckland Hospital, have introduced the progressive system, which also provides patient TV entertainment services managed from the same CMS server.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest integrated healthcare providers, with 7,500 staff who serve a population of around 650,000.

The CMS system was designed to seamlessly fit into the hospitals’ business and IT systems and furthers the Trust’s mission to provide the safest, most compassionate, and complete care for the populations it serves.

Through the CMS, hospitals within the network can offer content on more than 40 screens and door displays.

Nigel Hauxwell, IT manager at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “With Smartroom Health, our hospitals can create an exceptional patient experience by providing visual information and content on more than 40 digital signage screens and door displays.”

He added that the installation was smooth, and he is now getting ‘maximum value’ from the Trust’s IT budget by being able to control all the display screens from a single server.

Screens in public areas are now used to provide clear real-time communications to patients, visitors and staff, including general information, waiting times, news, general messages and café menus. 

The CMS can also combine kiosk check-in services, nurse call systems, wayfinding, and scheduling systems for room management.

The public area displays use larger digital signage screens, while smaller doorway displays outside meeting rooms show current and upcoming reservations, using the innovative CMS to handle room allocation, as well as patient-facing displays.

The concept behind the CMS was inspired by hospitals in Finland, which had success with implementing an IPTV (internet protocol television) system that combined entertainment and information on patient screens.

The CMS, Smartroom Health, developed by Hibox Systems was installed within a few months of discovering the need for more efficient and reliable signage at the Trust’s hospitals.

Staffan Granholm, the CEO of Hibox Systems, said: “Smartroom Health lives up to the visions and expectations of the Trust, delivering an engaging experience to patients and staff. We are proud of our first installation for the NHS, and we are confident this will be followed by many more, as it has in the Nordics where Smartroom Health is becoming the de facto standard for large hospitals.”

Hibox Systems has also discussed plans with other NHS trusts who have expressed an interest in implementing its CMS and IPTV system with digital signage, and through the service, patients could stream film and TV shows from streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, while staff could share schedules and other information.

For doctors, health records could be displayed from their own devices straight to a patient’s TV.

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