A pilot project introducing more flexible visiting hours at some hospitals is the first step to making the NHS more user-friendly, the Health Secretary said.
Alex Neil said the scheme, being trialled in five health boards, aimed to make visiting hours fit better with modern working life.
It is being introduced as a result of feedback from a series of "back to the floor" style visits the Health Secretary made to hospitals across Scotland.
Mr Neil said: "This visiting times pilot is the first step towards making our NHS more 'user friendly' and giving patients what they want.
"By making visiting hours fit better with modern day working patterns, it will be easier for family and friends to visit patients, which in many cases will help to speed up recovery, as support from family and friends is a crucial part of the healing process.
"It will also take some of the pressure off staff, as visitors will be spread out more throughout the day, rather than being restricted to a couple of hours."
He continued: "Over the past few months I have been speaking to patients and staff across the country to get a better idea for how they want their NHS to run. I want to use this feedback to improve the NHS and make it more user-friendly."
NHS Tayside was one of the boards to sign up for the pilot, with five wards at Dundee's Ninewells Hospital allowing friends and relatives to visit patients between 11am and 8pm. These include a general medical ward which has been refurbished to provide better care for dementia patients and is being visited by Mr Neil. Other wards taking part in the trial - which is being run for three months - include one for care of the elderly, an acute surgical ward, a hospital receiving unit and a neurosurgery unit.
NHS Tayside will then look at extending the longer visiting hours to other parts of the hospital.
Dr Margaret McGuire, nurse director at NHS Tayside, said: "NHS Tayside is committed to providing quality person-centred care. Central to this is involving patients, carers and families and responding to issues they raise in a meaningful way. This is why we are testing a more flexible approach to visiting and our test will take account of patient, visitor and staff feedback."