Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief
A UK company, The Healthcare Messaging Group, is providing NHS Hospitals with a digital signage solution that works to benefit both the hospital and the patients. The ‘Patient Information Initiative’ operated by The Healthcare Messaging Group using signagelive software, delivers high quality bespoke creative messages on large screens positioned in primary locations around major NHS Trusts.
The screens are targeting the vast footfall of patients and visitors and have been proven to enhance the communication of information to patients, staff and visitors as well as improve the patient’s hospital experience.
Private sector companies involved in healthcare can sponsor the Patient Information Initiative by aligning themselves to key hospital and public health messages that are pertinent to their product areas. Their presence on the digital signage screens provides them with corporate brand exposure to an audience of millions including patients, visitors, clinicians, researchers and key personnel that hospital partners want to make a lasting visual connection with.
Ian Gabbie, Commercial Director at The Healthcare Messaging Group explained “What we offer in our digital signage screens is not really marketing in the traditional meaning of the word. There is a big difference between advertising and appropriate, targeted information that’s of interest and help to patients and healthcare professionals. Our initiative has created a new communication channel for hospitals that also serves as a valuable revenue generator.”
The Healthcare Messaging Group works with the hospital’s communications department to ensure that all the messages that are important for the hospital and the services that provide are encompassed on the screens. The hospital has 100 per cent control over the content. The company then creates dynamic and relevant messaging keeping to the hospital’s brand style. The screens, messaging and creative design service are provided at no charge to the Trust. Additionally, the hospital can benefit from a share of the sponsorship revenue. To date the Patient Information Initiative has generated closed to GBP 500K in new revenue for its partner hospitals.
The initiative is funded entirely by the private sector – all messages are supported by companies involved in healthcare, such as medical equipment suppliers, devices and equipment manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and companies who wish to deliver messages to the NHS and its patients.
Each company’s message will appear approximately 12 times within an hour. There are around 25 messages on each single screen. All messages are on a loop all day, but they are tailored to their location and they can be changed quickly if required. If the screen is in a maternity ward, for instance, the content will be relevant to new mums.
“The aim of our network is to provide positive distraction for patients, whilst informing them of important information such as vaccinations, illness prevention or how to control the spread of infection, “ says Gabbie and adds, “There is no better time than when you are in hospital to absorb messages about health, disease awareness, and also give people tips on how to improve their lives through good health practices.”
The signagelive-powered screens also provide information about events at the hospital, news and live clinic times.
“Using signagelive makes it very easy for us to set up the messages and then distribute them to the relevant screens,” says Gabbie and adds, “We had an urgent requirement for a digital signage solution. We looked for a company that would provide us with a flexible, self-managed, SaaS (software as a service) platform with the technical support we needed. We found signagelive and Jason Cremins, signagelive’s CEO, came all the way to meet us at our offices in London on very short notice, and in the snow. Very quickly we realised that this was the solution we were looking for. Jason’s team also held our hand through the process of installing the screens and setting up the digital signage network.”
The Healthcare Messaging Group screens are installed in 17 major NHS hospitals in London and the surrounding area.