Can HOSPITAL-TY Bring More Hospitality to Hospitals?
Dentsu finds a way to contribute to healthcare in an aging society
Tackling healthcare issues common throughout Japan in one hospital
In November 2014, I travelled to Isesaki City in Gunma Prefecture, a few hours north of Tokyo, to meet for the first time with representatives of Mihara Memorial Hospital, a facility specializing in the treatment of neurological disorders, particularly cerebral strokes. The representatives told me that they wanted to provide better medical services and deal with various issues facing the hospital and its patients, such as the need to raise awareness of preventative healthcare, encourage patients to visit the hospital on a regular basis, help patients overcome a chronic lack of exercise, and deal with long waiting times. These issues are commonly found in hospitals everywhere in Japan, but it would be understandable if they were seen as beyond the expertise of an advertising and PR firm like Dentsu.
Finding a way for Dentsu to make its own unique contribution
In Japan, the number of physicians cannot keep up with the rapid aging of the population. Therefore, it is vital for medical patients to change their own awareness and behaviors so that demand for healthcare services can be kept in check. The truth is, if doctors simply give advice and instructions to their patients, the patients do not always follow those instructions and act accordingly. On that basis, we proposed that new opportunities should be created in the hospital for patients to get some enjoyment out of the activities they are supposed to be doing.
Turning ideas into practice
After engaging in discussions with a design committee, prototype developers, and a healthcare team, we delivered three sets of items to the hospital in May 2016. Each item was designed to be fun and interactive, thereby promoting a patient-friendly atmosphere at the hospital. Accordingly, we named the initiative HOSPITAL-TY, combining the ideas of hospital and hospitality. The items, described below, proved to be very popular among patients and are still being used at the hospital today.
1. Dr. Sanitizer
Dr. Sanitizer offers words of wisdom to users
Dr. Sanitizer is not an ordinary disinfectant dispenser—when a user presses on the pump to disinfect his or her hands, a message offering words of wisdom pops up on an attached digital display screen. We created a total of 100 different messages and decorated the dispenser with a likeable and cute image of a doctor to encourage people to use it every day. Apparently, people are using it more, as 1.6 times more disinfectant solution was consumed over five months of use.
2. Dr. High Five
Dr. High Five generates personalized messages from over 28,000 patterns
We came to understand that a little bit of encouragement can be very motivating for people to participate in rehabilitation every day. With that in mind, we developed digital signage called Dr. High Five, which, as the name suggests, is designed to inspire patients undergoing rehabilitation. The system offers personalized messages of encouragement derived from a personal information database authenticated when the patient uses a high five motion to touch a palm vein sensor after arriving at the entrance of a rehab room. Messages include topics like rehabilitation advice, personal hobbies and even birthday congratulations. So far, 63 patients have used the system.
3. Dr. Blanket
Dr. Blanket is embroidered with one of 10 different quiz patterns designed to stimulate the mind.
At the hospital, patients must endure a long wait of about one hour and 15 minutes on average. Therefore, we wanted to provide them with a fun and mentally stimulating quiz to do while waiting their turn. After observing the waiting room, we noticed that elderly people and women often brought a lap blanket to use. That led to the idea of embroidering a quiz pattern on lap blankets, and lending them out to patients free of charge. The result was Dr. Blanket, a lap blanket that warms up the body and sparks the mind.
Developing HOSPITAL-TY further and promoting its adoption
The progressive aging of society is leading to difficult challenges that are common around the world. Fortunately, Dentsu was able to make a small contribution with our HOSPITAL-TY initiative. Our team is exploring ways to develop this initiative further while promoting its widespread adoption. If anyone has any requests, please feel free to contact us.