The Minnetonka Medical Center, part of the North Memorial Health Care system, opened in November of 2014, bringing with it world-class healthcare to residents of the western Minneapolis suburbs. The facility includes a primary care clinic, an urgency center for emergency care, imaging center and laboratory. It also includes some of the latest technology to improve the patient experience.
Alpha Video installed large wall-mounted displays to 12 Urgency Center treatment rooms to help the physician easily share images and information with patients.
“Our vision for the Minnetonka Medical Center as we were going through the development and design phase was to use technology in new and exciting ways to improve the patient experience,” said Bethany Hyde, Clinic Manager. “We made a lot of changes and investments in new workflows, using medical records differently, and changing the patients’ experience at check-in and in the exam rooms.”
One exciting new use of technology is in the 24 primary care exam rooms and the 12 urgency center treatment rooms. Each room contains a large wall-mounted display that serves dual objectives: it allows for the physician to easily share high-definition images, videos and medical records with the patient, and it provides information to the patient while they wait to see the physician.
North Memorial partnered with Alpha Video to design and integrate the system that runs the displays. “The request for the dual-use displays in the exam rooms sounds pretty simple,” said David Muth, Alpha Video’s Engineer on the project. “But sometimes it’s difficult to make things simple.” The system designed by Alpha Video is one that can easily switch between a physician-consulting mode and a digital signage mode.
When physicians share information with a patient, they can use either a computer in the room or bring their own computer. All of the computers used by the clinic contain a DisplayPort video output connection to efficiently communicate HD imagines and videos. The computers are connected to an AV wall plate with an HDMI connection using a DisplayPort-to-HDMI cable. To switch between display-signage mode and local mode, Alpha Video wall mounted a two-button Crestron keypad.
When the physicians are not using them, the displays operate as a digital signage system providing information to the patients. The digital signage content includes information about the clinic, the staff, North Memorial, upcoming events, weather, news, health tips and local artwork. The content is chosen to both educate and entertain the patients while they wait for the doctor to arrive.
Alpha Video selected CastNET Cloud as the digital signage content management software. The content is created and scheduled by the North Memorial Marketing Department and the Administrative Staff at the clinic. CastNET Cloud does not require a hardware server onsite and runs on a remote server located in CastNET’s secure, off-site data center.
Alpha Video also installed displays to the medical center’s lobby to keep patients informed as they wait.
Bethany Hyde added, “We partnered with CastNET’s creative team to design customized templates to make it easy for us to create and broadcast informative and eye-catching digital signage content. CastNET did a great job training our staff on how to use the software, so we were creating new content just as soon as the system was installed.”
Alpha Video and CastNET cooperated to design the most effective network for the digital signage system. The patient room displays are connected to the equipment rack using HDBaseT connectivity over CAT6 cabling. Panasonic 42” LED 1080P displays were selected for the facility for two reasons. One is that the 1080P resolution is required to clearly show the high definition images. The second is that the displays include Panasonic’s built-in HDBaseT DIGITAL LINK player. This means that the CAT 6 cable can plug directly into the display without the need for a separate digital signage player.
Besides the digital displays in the patient rooms, the medical center installed displays in the lobby and waiting area to improve the patient experience. The lobby includes a video wall that is composed of three Panasonic 55” displays that are installed in a 1x3 configuration. The video wall can operate as three separate digital signs or as one large video wall image.
The video wall includes one special feature that is proving to be highly valued by the patients. The CastNET software running on two displays in the lobby area shows the average wait time for the primary care clinic and for the urgency center. Patients have been very impressed by this feature because it demonstrates the value the clinic places the patients’ time.
Crucial to the effective operation of the signage system is the advanced Crestron Control system designed, programed, and integrated by Alpha Video. The control system was required because the medical center requested that all the displays could be powered on and off at the same time to save energy. Alpha Video programmed a web interface so that the clinic could easily set the dates and times for powering on and off. The HDBaseT connectivity supports the transmission of video and control codes over the same Cat 6 cable, thereby saving time and cost during the installation. The Crestron system also allowed Alpha Video to install the two-button keypad in each room that made switching between modes extremely easy.
Commenting on the signage system, Bethany Hyde said, “We’ve been very pleased with the positive feedback from patients, and the providers feel that they are making stronger connections with the patients in the exam and treatment rooms. We are looking to roll out similar systems to other North Memorial locations. It’s the type of system that every medical clinic and hospital should be evaluating.”