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Central Manchester Hospitals entertain and inform patients with Saturn digital signage

The project originally saw the installation of four screens, and this has now become 97 across six hospitals. The system is used for both entertainment to minimise perceived waiting times and education to enable patients to make better use of their treatment.

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has installed digital information screens from digital signage specialists Saturn Communications Group. The screens are being used to deliver information in real time to patients in various departments throughout the organisation’s hospitals.

In the initial phase of the project, four 55-inch LCD screens were installed in the Accident & Emergency Department at Manchester Royal Infirmary. Suspended from the ceiling, the four screens have been synchronised to play the same content at exactly the same time and are constantly refreshed with live information relating to the status of the department and patient waiting times.

“The screens are a good source of entertainment and distraction while patients are waiting,” said Catherine Bartlett, acting lead nurse for Urgent Care. “We are also using the screens as a way of informing patients of the approximate waiting times which has meant that they don’t need to ask our reception staff as often and have an indication of when they will be seen. In the future we hope to develop the screens to promote Choose Well messages and display more detailed information with the intention of educating patients on what service to use, therefore reducing the overall waiting time and the number of repeat visitors who could access healthcare services elsewhere such as their local pharmacist.”

The Saturn digital signage system also provides the opportunity to present richer patient guidance and medical information, compared to traditional media such as leaflets and posters. By creating dynamic content with audio, which can be as simple as a voiceover, hospitals can present more detailed and persuasive messages that help patients maximise the benefits of their treatment and enjoy a better overall experience.

The Trust can provide recommendations tailored to the particular department where each screen is located, such as advice on optimising fluid intake to enjoy the best possible ultrasound images. The system allows the Trust to manage content centrally while also providing each department with its own portal to upload relevant messages such as real-time status updates and departmental notices.

The system is able to feed a combination of TV programmes and the hospitals’ own content while a live ticker displaying information such as waiting times and the status of various clinics is displayed permanently at the bottom of the screen. TV shows can be selected specifically to appeal to the types of audiences in each department. For example, the children’s departments can be configured to show CBeebies or CBBC, interspersed with appropriate medical information films.

Saturn worked with the Trust’s IT department to get the system set up and running, including installing the central infrastructure and ensuring the system delivered the required functionality with all screens operating reliably. The Saturn Connectvision software selected for this project is said to be intuitive and easy to use with technology features built-in to minimise bandwidth requirements on corporate networks.

Saturn is also providing ongoing training for managers and staff at the Trust, including instruction on how to upload content, monitor and manage the system, and ensure the best day-to-day performance.

“We are proud to announce our cooperation with Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust,” said Joe Till, sales director, Saturn Communications Group. “Our bespoke package of software, technology and managed services has successfully addressed client objectives for a solution capable of delivering functionality beyond that of a pure streaming video system or basic digital signage.”

The Trust has rolled the Saturn system out to six of its hospitals at present, to deliver richer and more dynamic patient information via a total of 97 LCD screens in a significant number of public areas.