Healthcare Case studies

Digital signage keeps medics informed of critical training programs

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ONELAN's Net-Top-Box (NTB), a digital signage solution for the display of customised information on screen, has been successfully implemented at Yorkhill hospital near Glasgow to keep medical staff informed of essential professional development courses

The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, is Scotland's largest children's hospital, a leading centre for the care of women and children, and one of Glasgow's principal maternity centres. It is a major site for the teaching and training of doctors, nurses and other health professionals who care for mothers and children.

Of particular concern was keeping staff up-to-date with the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses, which are essential to maintain high levels of professional competence. Due to the nature of the job, medical and nursing staff do not have regular access to email, and although posters were displayed, some people remained unaware of the latest CPD courses. This was adversely affecting their ability to enhance their skills through the varied education and training opportunities available at
the hospital.

Education Manager Marina Hepburn and her team from the Education Department therefore approached Brian McGeady, Managing Director of Pro-Comm Audio Visual - a certified ONELAN reseller based in Glasgow. He recommended ONELAN's NTBs as the most cost-effective and reliable solution for displaying customised information on screen. The NTB 112 is a web-based digital signage solution that allows users to select, add and update the content of their choice on any LCD, plasma or projected display. The boxes accept content in all major audio, animation and graphic formats and receive free-to-air TV channels as well as free ticker-tape newscasts from the Internet. Easy-to-use and based on a Linux operating system for its resilience against viruses, NTBs distribute content on multiple displays across any network thanks to ONELAN's scaling software. Furthermore, the boxes display content in high-resolution for high-clarity texts and graphics and allow users to add and update their own messaging online at any time.

At Yorkhill, messages are displayed on two 42-inch plasma screens located in the dining hall and in the main entrance. Staff can thus stay informed at leisure during their lunch hour, or simply while strolling past the displays in the main entrance. Says Brian McGeady: "The fitting process is relatively straight forward: We carry out the installation of the plasma displays and other system hardware while the internal IT department install the network points from which we run the box. Thereafter we simply configure and commission the systems. The installation takes about a day, taking into account cable installation and boxes for signal conversion" (VGA to CAT5 and back - this is a requirement when there are long distances between box and screens)."

As well as informing on training courses, the screens are used to address sensitive issues among patient relatives, such as the availability of the Family Support and Information Services for Parents and Carers. Many people often do not know or simply will not ask about this type of help. Furthermore, the centre is also available to provide support to patients in difficult times.

Again the displays emphasise this in an effective, but sensitive manner. It did not take long to master the system. "We had one hour of training to come to grips with this technology and it has proved entirely sufficient. There is nothing daunting about this system" says Marina Hepburn. "There has been a huge improvement in our mode of communication since these installations. The box provides highly effective delivery of information. This solution was also cost-effective: we advertised our needs through competitive tender, and then were able to fund it through the National Health Service lottery money. The entire project cost just under £8,000 for what has become essential to the day-today management of staff."

Managing Director of ONELAN, David Dalzell says: "The use of digital signage is a powerful tool for improving the communications infrastructure in large organisations. The benefits in this case are obvious, but the management of schools, offices, universities or supermarkets can also be vastly improved through the increased staff awareness made possible by such displays."