Cosmetic medicine intrinsically regards people as works in progress. That’s exact same phrase that Lindsay Blalock, executive assistant to Dr. Girish Munavalli, MD and medical director of the Dermatology, Laser & Vein Specialists (DLVS) of the Carolinas practice used to describe the audio/video systems that have been evolving in that sleek, modern facility in Charlotte, NC over the last three years. What began as a few LCD displays in waiting areas has expanded to 32 zones of audio, 24 zones of video with digital distribution and two separate digital signage networks, all controlled by a Control4 automation system using a 46-inch touchpanel. The system was installed by AV integrator The SOHO Shop.
“This has definitely been a work in progress,” says Blalock, who has become the systems’ primary curator in that time. The video systems serve an array of functions ranging from basic entertainment, showing local and cable television channels, to displaying informational videos outlining various cosmetic and surgical procedures and products, drawing on a deep pool of content available from DLVSC’s vendors’ own websites that Blalock can download and edit using Tightrope Media Systems‘ Carousel program content management and distribution system.
“On-demand video has become ubiquitous in medical waiting areas and treatment rooms as a way to inform patients by delivering content on demand and tuned in to individual interests,” says Dr. Munavalli. “It’s also become way to increase our productivity by using content to prepare patients about the basics of procedures and medications, allowing doctors and nurses to focus on information and questions specific to each patient. As a result, this increases the quality of the time spent with each patient while being able to address more patient issues and concerns in a day.”
Bryan Jefferson, co-founder of The SOHO Shop, says that desire to increase productivity is what initially sparked DLVSC’s interest in a complex AV system.
On a typical day, he says, the automation system “opens” the office at 6:30 a.m. by turning lighting on and switching the audio to a pre-selected playlist. When a patient arrives and is taken to their room, the nurse will launch a pre-loaded video of a respective treatment or show content of products and services that the doctor offers. “This allows the nursing staff to get the client comfortable and give them detailed information while they are waiting for the doctor,” Jefferson explains. “It helps give insight to the patient and answer questions prior to the doctor arriving to the room, in turn, greatly maximizing the doctor’s time management.”
For treatment and recovery rooms, patients are able to access cable TV, movies stored in the library, or digital movie streaming, such as Netflix, to make their stay comfortable. Every day at 6:00 p.m., the office turns itself completely off.
Content can be controlled at a very granular level. For instance, different types of patients are addressed on days of the week, according to criteria such as age and conditions. “That calls for different kinds of music in each area on different days,” says Jefferson. The Control4 system also activates the 14 security cameras around the facility that monitor access points as well as pharmaceutical storage areas. In addition, SOHO Shop installed about 30 Black & Decker locks that report back on what rooms were used, when they were accessed, how often, user codes for those accessing those rooms, and other data. For example, if someone accessed the drug room out of normal business hours or on the weekend, the doctor will be notified via text or “push” notification. “This is perhaps the most unique aspect of the entire install,” says Jefferson.
Blalock’s advice to medical practices regarding A/V is simple: expect that any system will have to evolve over time. “You’ll always find new ways that it can be applied,” she says, resulting in a pattern of rolling upgrades. She suggests periodic review of the system and the practice’s needs with the A/V integrator to refine its operation. And allow for a learning curve.
For instance, she realized that when Internet audio sources such as the Pandora and Sirius radio services DLVSC uses run for too long, they can lock up, interrupting the ambience and forcing a system reboot. “Bryan programmed a reset of the audio system at intervals throughout each day and it’s been fine ever since,” she says. “It’s constant tweaking, but once you have it where you want it, it becomes a regular part of the operation of the office. A reliable and innovative integrator, like the SOHO shop in our case, is a critical part of a successful endeavor.”
—The SOHO Shop details the job they accomplished in seven days.