Using AV to Educate Patients & Reduce Anxiety
Architects and designers work hard to come up with innovative ways to enhance healthcare facilities, including using audio-visual (AV) tools to elevate the patient experience. But beyond creating a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing space, can AV solutions also be used for patient education and furthering patient understanding? It turns out the answer is yes. There are plenty of educational values of audiovisual aids and ways in which they are empowering patients every day. Here are a few to consider for your next project.
1. Digital Signage to Reduce Uncertainty
Aside from the maternity ward, hospitals and medical facilities exist to care for people in the midst of illness, disease, and surgery. Inherently, they are places of extreme stress. When patients come through your doors, it is up to you to find as many ways as possible to reduce uncertainty and any additional stressors you have the power to minimize.
One way to do this is by using digital signage. For instance, you can use dynamic signs to let patients and visitors know their approximate wait time so they no longer have to wonder if they have time to grab a sandwich before they are called back, or how long they might have to wait, in pain, in the lobby. Displaying wait times does not change the time someone has to wait; it simply gives them information that can help reduce anxiety.
2. Video to Inform
Another way in which you can use AV solutions to help patients feel less anxious is by turning them into tools for patient education. For example, streaming videos can be used to translate complicated medical details into something that makes sense to a patient and their family.
You can include pictures, charts, and other information that the patient may not have access to otherwise, thereby giving them a higher degree of understanding about their health. Simply clearing away the proverbial cobwebs about a person’s condition can help to take their anxiety down a few notches and give them a bit of peace.
3. Keep Visitors Calm
Patients in your facility are not the only ones who feel anxious; their visitors often do, too. While it might not seem like it is your responsibility to quell the nerves of visitors, it actually is important to try. One reason is that anxious visitors can make the patient they are visiting more anxious, without even realizing it.
This is partly because we all have mirror neurons. Researchers are still exploring this phenomenon, but the crux of it is that one person’s neurons naturally mirror another’s. This gives us an understanding of one another’s emotional and mental states, but it also means that one person’s feelings may transfer to another. By keeping your visitors calmer, you can help your patients remain calmer, as well.
Use AV technology throughout your facility to help visitors through wayfinding and digital signage to help patients get answers to frequently asked questions. You can also use nurse call systems to ensure nervous visitors have a way to reach the nursing staff easily with any concerns. Again, none of these solutions actually change a patient’s state or health outcomes, but they do change the visitor’s and patient’s perceptions and experiences to some extent.
The takeaway here? Keep calm – and use AV to help your patients and their visitors do the same. Any questions on how to get started? We would love to help!
How are you using AV technology to educate patients and reduce burnout and anxiety?