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How digital signage could help with phobias

One company is testing how using digital signage players could help people fearful or nervous of situations like having blood taken.

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Participants viewed calming content through ArtPlayer’s digital signage

Whether it’s the needles themselves or just the sight of blood, blood tests are one of the top phobias of people in the UK.  

A study conducted at the Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark in partnership with CoLab Plug & Play, Aalborg University’s Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, and company Cumedin ApS, which owns streaming service Artplayer, aimed to find out whether ArtPlayer’s solution has a calming effect on people afraid or nervous about blood sampling.

CoLab Plug & Play, located at the Health Innovation Centre, is a modern test and demonstration environment for commercial testing of technological healthcare products.

A total of seven participants, all who say they do not like having blood taken, were sat in front of a digital screen playing calming images and music.

The test subjects were fitted with a belt to measure their heart rate and a webcam recorded their facial reactions during the blood test.

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

Data from the test was processed by Aalborg University and found that participants’ average heart rates had reduced during the ArtPlayer intervention, pointing towards a relaxing effect.

Post-intervention interviews showed that ArtPlayer had had a positive effect on participants, with many saying the use of digital screens was good for “getting their mind off of [having their blood drawn].”

Hendrik Knoche, associate professor at Aalborg University comments: “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.

“This had a relaxing effect as evidenced by the participants self-reports and reduction in heart rate.”

Solvej Mathiesen, project manager at the Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark adds: “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.

“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.”

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