Since the beginning of the pandemic, healthcare professionals have been on a battle footing worldwide. They are working long hours with limited resources to fight the current global threat called COVID-19. In order to recognize their efforts, many communities are now putting their time and creativity into public expressions of gratitude, from making streetside graffiti to posting billboard banners.
Hospitals and community businesses have also sought to promote their message of thanks to healthcare professionals. Recently, Northwell Health leveraged their digital signage platform partners to feature messages of gratitude to all the healthcare workers, first responders, and essential employees, followed by a montage of these heroes in action. Tactically placed across Northwell’s facilities, this digital signage quickly grabbed public attention and boosted the morale of the healthcare professionals.
One of the architects of such strategically-placed media at Northwell Health is Innovare Medical Media (Innovare)—a pioneer in the digital signage and charging solution space. Innovare brings an entrepreneurial model to the healthcare space, providing hospitals with free digital charging solutions and contributing revenue from the project back to the hospital. “This pandemic has put additional pressure on all of us and as hospitals continue to face increasing healthcare expenses, decreasing reimbursements, and shrinking marketing budgets, this project is a win-win-win for Hospitals,” enthuses the co-founder of Innovare, Michael Ricciardi, as a proud partner of such an initiative.
Notably, this partnership between Northwell Health and Innovare was not something new. Innovare has been associated with Northwell since 2012, and, over the years, has installed 11 community showcase display programs across multiple Northwell healthcare facilities, with 2 more hospitals scheduled to be installed this year. “I first came across Innovare late in 2016 as they were developing a program at one of our sites, Huntington Hospital, and it all seemed too good to be true,” said Kim Schwalb of Northwell Health. As a senior manager of business operations, Kim oversees the Innovare project and manages the recurring revenue contributions as well as the approval of all content. The digital signage component of this project is a great way to reinforce hospital branding initiatives and the charging stations are a hit with patients, visitors and staff. In addition, Schwalb remarked, “the funds from the revenue share have been critical to helping support employee engagement and local level community sponsorship events. With the addition of more Northwell Health hospitals, and new display technology, I have seen the revenue increase year over year.”
Optimizing the Marketing Content for Healthcare Space
NYU Winthrop Hospital was the first to launch Innovare on its entrepreneurial journey in 2011. Now, 128 hospitals have chosen to launch this new technology with over 30 hospitals joining in 2019 alone. Innovare’s mission is to create highly effective ongoing hospital branding and marketing platforms, enhance the appearance of sterile public areas in hospitals and even support the patient experience at zero cost to the hospital. All this is accomplished with financial support from hospital-approved regional businesses. Innovare has already contributed over $3 million back to hospitals during the past five years.
Not surprising, Innovare has a healthy list of health system partners in both the not-for-profit and for-profit space leveraging this entrepreneurial model. For example, Lynn Robbins, Director of Marketing and PR at Portsmouth Regional Hospital commented, “Portsmouth Regional Hospital was looking for cost-effective solution to effectively market/brand the hospital as well as support patient experience by providing charging solutions.
Innovare transforms areas on the hospital campus to feature real hospital marketing and branding for free
Once introduced to Innovare, we quickly saw the business model as a no-brainer. Innovare not only provides hospitals with free marketing displays and free Charging Stations, but they service and maintain the entire program and even contribute revenue back to the hospital.”
The seamless and turnkey digital signage platform provided by Innovare helps healthcare facilities dump the antiquated poster boards, easels, and vinyl banners from their buildings, and enhance the appearance of their sterile public areas. These digital charging solutions with large-format hospital graphics can be placed throughout the hospital facilities to feature impactful hospital marketing content as well as pre-approved, leading local and regional businesses’ content, community messages and CDC guidelines. “Considering the impact of this crisis, many of our hospitals, have chosen to run messages of thanks and gratitude, along with motivational content geared toward the healthcare professionals across the Innovare platform. The outpouring of support has been wonderful to see as all the frontline workers are the great heroes in this crisis,” Ricciardi explained.
A Community-Sponsored Solution for Hospital
What makes Innovare a remarkable choice for health facilities is its proprietary concession model through which they do all the heavy lifting – and its complete solution is offered to hospitals free of cost. Innovare leverages messaging by hospital-approved sponsors (colleges, credit unions, banks, other leading employers), to support the entire project and creates a revenue share which allows them to contribute revenue back to the hospital mission priorities. several million dollars to date and growing! For example, some hospitals have the funds directed toward their foundation, others towards employee engagement, and some readily put the revenue back into marketing budgets.
Traditionally, the waiting lounge or cafeterias of the hospitals have broadcast television news and ad content, which may not be particularly well-suited for the hospital settings, and hospital management has no control on what content goes on-air. With Innovare’s digital signage solutions, those challenges are resolved as hospitals can now control all the messaging that is displayed, thereby facilitating a more appropriate, targeted and niche content.
A Gift that Never Stops Giving
The benefits of Innovare’s community display solution extend even further. These solutions are truly first-of-its-kind, considering they also combine mobile charging stations with the signage to enhance the patient and visitor experience even more. As Ricciardi highlights, “Hospitals are now looking to add charging stations in their waiting areas. In many cases, hospitals purchase these charging solutions themselves and get entangled in an ever-increasing maintenance cost.” On the other hand, with an added benefit of integrated mobile charging stations, Innovare’s digital display solutions are becoming more valuable for key waiting areas, lobbies, and cafeterias. Innovare partner, Ballad Health has benefitted from the easy implementation of the charging station project. As Jennifer McCroskey, Patient Experience Specialist, describes, “When our patient and family advisory council tasked me with finding a charging station, I never expected to find something like this. The Innovare project just made sense. These towers provide our guests a much-needed service while displaying a high impact marketing platform at no cost to us which is remarkable. I can’t think of another product or service we’ve implemented that didn’t require the hospital to cut a check, and the fact that Innovare shares a percentage of their gross revenue with us on a quarterly basis was a surprising bonus.”
Going the extra mile, Innovare is also responsible for the service and maintenance for all the display solutions and ensures that these solutions are updated with the latest technology through its local area service representatives. “We are responsible for installing signage solutions to all the way through servicing and maintenance of the equipment,” added Marianne Pish, from the Innovare Team.
Moving ahead, Innovare is now poised to reach out to more healthcare providers with its integrated offering. Especially, as digital signage and charging stations are fast becoming an industry-wide trend, it is a favorable time for Innovare to grow above and beyond. The company is also improving its charging stations by including the provisions of wireless charging. “With the ongoing enhancements of our integrated offering, many folks at the hospitals will find them to be a wonderful value-add for patients, visitors, and staff. We are thrilled so many leading hospitals have chosen Innovare and it has been incredible to see our network grow coast-to-coast so quickly. We look forward to continuing to support our hospital partners and uncovering new partners to support for years to come.,” concludes Ricciardi.