Tests Validate Using Digital Signage To Calm Stress Medical Lab Visitors

I don’t know if the test sample is large enough to be meaningful, but it its nonetheless interesting that calming art images and music on a medical lab digital signage system made blood sampling a better experience for patients at the Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark.

Seven citizens who were clear they do not like taking blood samples participated in a test put together by CoLab Plug & Play, Aalborg University’s Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology and the company Cumedin ApS, which owns the Denmark-based streaming service ArtPlayer.

“In the process, I have had contact with many people who, to varying degrees, feel discomfort during the blood sampling or have had some bad experiences with it,” says Solvej Mathiesen, Project Manager, Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark. “I have got the impression that there is a larger audience that might be helped by something as simple as a streaming service such as ArtPlayer.”

Says the PR:

The purpose of the test was to investigate whether calming images and music help the test persons’ nervousness – objectively whether calming images and music have effect on the test persons’ pulse and facial reactions during blood sampling.

Prior to the test, the test subjects were therefore fitted with a belt for measuring heart rate. During the actual test, the test persons sat in front of a TV screen with calming images and music in the headphones, while their facial reactions were filmed by a webcam.

After the test, data was processed by Aalborg University and a publication of the results is now available. (Note: ArtPlayer managing director Morten Kryger says people can contact him at [email protected] if they want the publication of the results).

The main findings of the ArtPlayer testing is summarized in the following: 

  • A reduction in participants’ average heart rate during the ArtPlayer intervention pointed towards a relaxing effect;
  • According to tests, the participants’ heart rate was significantly lower during the ArtPlayer intervention;
  • Both the relaxation rating scale values, and post-intervention interviews, showed that ArtPlayer had a positive effect with many saying it was good for “getting their mind off of [having their blood drawn]”;
  • All the participants stated that the application had a positive relaxing effect on their state of mind;
  • Two of the participants said that they got sleepy while watching the slideshow with one saying that they ”would have fallen asleep” if it had continued;
  • The interviews with the participants found that although the tastes of each participant varied a lot, it did not seem to have an influence on the overall experience when sitting for a long enough time.

“Based on the self-reports, ArtPlayer acted as a form of a mentally demanding distraction to people that helped keep their mind of having blood drawn soon by looking at the images,” says Hendrik Knoche, Associate Professor, Aalborg University. “This had a relaxing effect as evidenced by the participants self-reports and reduction in heart rate.”

The ArtPlayer test was partly funded by The Innovation Fund Denmark’s InnoBooster Program.

This all would seem to make sense, but interesting to see assumptions tested and validated.