Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is one of the top healthcare services providers in the United States, covering six heavily-populated counties in southeastern Michigan. It has more than 2,700 physicians and 14,000 nurses and staff across more than 40 hospitals, outpatient health centers, urgent care and specialty centers
The organization has been using Alpha Video’s CastNET platform since 2007 to efficiently develop and manage content across roughly 40 content channels and hundreds of screens in some of the larger facilities, and continuing to evolve its usage of digital signage.
The health care organization had a variety of messaging challenges by conventional means such as posters and leaflets. SJMHS looked at digital signage as an answer, and learned through trial and some error how to make the most of limited available resources and powerful management tools to now operate a highly effective, diverse network.
The overall program is hosted by the Health System’s IT group - using content management servers - and multiple people have logins based on access rights. The web-based CastNET platform has a highly sophisticated but easily managed user rights and approvals system to enforce a “second set of eyes” on changes, or even multiple approvals on single changes.
“We looked at other systems for digital signage,” says Joby Mazak, a project manager in the SJMHS IT group who has driven the program from inception, “but we kept coming back to CastNET because of the distributed responsibility system they have, the ability to delegate the programming to the stakeholders.”
Users across multiple facilities work with pre-designed templates that control the group brand, localized IDs, and overall look and feel. They log in by browser to secure forms that allow them to select the right template, update the fields with new text, schedule it and submit.
Plan to Expand
The core program started with replacing posters with digital screens in the health care group’s branded coffee shops, called Joe’s Java. Messaging for seasonal specials and new product offers required long lead times and sometimes was just missed. The coffee group’s manager now runs the overall content program using CastNET, and local baristas have user rights to log in via the web and update specials and images unique to each location.
“The thing that has really impressed me about Saint Joseph Mercy Health System,” says Kim Jones, the Alpha Video executive working with the hospital group, “is they represent how digital signage really can be used by a large organization to effectively communicate to a wide range of employees, departments and company locations.”
Cafeterias in the system are also now using CastNET-driven web forms to replace inefficient printed menu displays with digital versions that can be updated on the fly. The first system, at the St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, allows the head chef to update menu items and pricing using a web form on five distinct channels.
CastNET is also being used to drive patient information channels in the hospitals, servers driving a branded channel of hospital information and multi-zoned infotainment on monitors in patient rooms.
Traffic and weather information are being shown in some lobbies and vestibules, making staff and visitors aware of potential problems before they even leave the building. In the St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor physician dining room, CastNET is driving interactive stations, with touch screens and a larger display monitor, to access medical information and presentations developed by colleagues.