Commentary

More Moves In Healthcare DO

A number of digital out-of-home networks have sprung up over the last few years targeting one of the most engaged captive audiences there is -- patients in healthcare venues, including doctors' offices and hospitals. This week brought new developments in the healthcare DO business, including a new healthcare-focused network from Adcentricity, and new research from the Wellness Network.

Adcentricity's new Healthcare Network consists of medical and health oriented touchpoints like pharmacies and doctor offices, all of which are either point-of-care (waiting rooms or patient rooms) or point of transaction (checkout, in-aisle or at pharmacy). In announcing the new network, Adcentricity noted the long average dwell time associated with these venues, ranging from 22 minutes to three hours. The gender breakdown of the audience is roughly equal, with men constituting 54% and women 46%, while age distribution is even across the spectrum, from 20% for 18-24 to 28% for 55+.

This week also saw the publication of some interesting data from a study performed by GfK Research North America for the Wellness Network, which owns two hospital-based DO networks, the Patient Channel and the Newborn Channel. The study, "A Day in the Life of a Hospital Patient," aimed to determine the overall patient experience, mindset and willingness to receive health and wellness information during hospitalization and after discharge.

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Unsurprisingly, TV plays a huge role in passing the time during a hospital stay, with patients watching an average of 28 hours over the course of their stays -- which, of course, may vary in length (in 2008 the average overnight hospital stay in the U.S. was about five days). The time spent watching TV included about six hours watching the Patient Channel, which reaches an average of 20 million hospital patients a year.

Interestingly, hospitals that carry the Patient Channel received high evaluations from patients for the facility and its level of care for patients, although this leaves open the question of correlation versus causation: on one hand, patients may feel better informed because there's a TV channel devoted to their issues, but it may just be that hospitals with the Patient Channel (or just TVs in patient rooms at all) tend to be larger and have more resources.

The Patient Channel does appear to be well-received, in that patients rank it ahead of TV news, support groups, and the Internet as a source of health information; unsurprisingly, it ranks behind doctors and family and friends. 67% of those surveyed said watching the Patient Channel after discharge made them more motivated to stay on their treatment plan.

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