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Since 2011, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has leveraged HughesON™ Digital Signage solutions at VA hospitals and clinics around the country, taking advantage of its many benefits as a fully managed, turnkey offering. Based on each facility’s requirements, this includes end-to-end system design, installation, training, operations, help desk, and onsite maintenance, along with step-changes in technology as it evolves. For the VA, HughesON Digital Signage supports a positive patient experience and improves employee engagement throughout the hospital network.
Underpinning the VA network is Hughes MediaSignage™, a proprietary cloud-based system to manage content on high definition screens at hospitals in 11 states, including Mississippi, Utah, Kansas, New York, California, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Missouri, and most recently, in Florida, as well as at more than 200 community-based outpatient clinics and the Arkansas VA Law Enforcement Training Center. Employing the powerful capabilities of Hughes MediaSignage, the VA has integrated their communications strategies and channels to deliver timely information wherever and whenever it’s needed. As a result, the VA has replaced posters, pamphlets, and notices, previously displayed throughout lobbies and public areas with far more dynamic and media-rich dissemination, while also complying with the Federal Government’s mandate to reduce paper consumption.
Additionally, the VA is leveraging the HughesON solution to address extensive organizational communications needs at various medical facilities across the country, tailoring it to effectively meet the unique needs of various audiences – employees, patients, families, and visitors at each location.
A Step-Change in Technology
At the most recent installation at the VA Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, the VA implemented new LG SmartTV screens, which Hughes sells as part of its comprehensive HughesON Digital Signage solution. Previously, screens required the deployment of a small media player; the LG SmartTV integrates that player technology into the screen as an application. The hospital simply mounts the LG SmartTVs throughout the facility and connects them to the network either via Wi-Fi or a direct wireline. The LG SmartTVs run WebOS 3.0 or later and connect to the local network for access to the centrally-managed Hughes MediaSignage software.
Screens in the Gainesville locations, which serve veterans from Florida and Georgia, are distributed throughout various buildings and clinics, with some locations mounted lower on the walls to improve accessibility for visitors and patients in wheelchairs.
Customized Content Management
The VA’s solution includes a customized content-management portal. At each site where the solution is deployed, local administrators have online access to the Hughes MediaSignage software to manage the content displayed on the screens for their area. With an average of 30 screens at each site—and 60 at the largest deployment in Dallas—content management could be overwhelming. But with online—and even mobile—access, authorized administrators can display pertinent information and promotional content where and when it’s needed. Individual screens can be configured by building and by room or location within a building, such as having content in the VA hospital break rooms or canteens tailored for morning workers versus overnight staff.
One of the most valuable features of the HughesON Digital Signage solution is the Wayfinding application, which provides location and map capabilities with a “You Are Here” starting point, including a directory listing of all departments within the facility or campus. Interactive screens throughout the facility provide instant access to the Live Help Desk. The solution is flexible and can be updated using a simple web-based user interface.
As a leading-edge content management system, Hughes MediaSignage is built to store video and digital content at the screen level. Consequently, should the network go down, the screen continues to play scheduled content, ensuring that information is always available to patients, staff, and visitors as planned. The system also enables each screen to provide access to live TV programming and multicast streams, training content, and video-on-demand, all within a multilingual and customized VA-branded interface.
Throughout the VA hospital network, HughesON Digital Signage solutions are supporting an enhanced customer experience and boosting employee engagement. The platform enables each hospital or clinic to manage thousands of digital assets from anywhere, at any time. In real time, administrators monitor screen status, push updates to various screens, and schedule content weeks or months in advance—so they can be sure that signage is conveying information when, where, and to whom it is needed.