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Clinical Benefits of Bedside Units and SPARK® Media

7 minute read

Clinical Benefits of Bedside Units and SPARK® Media

Many people view the bedside units and SPARK® Media simply as a means of entertainment for patients in hospital to reduce boredom and take their mind off their condition. But they can do so much more than that. To enhance the patient experience, the patient needs to be more involved with their journey. Both of these platforms have clinical elements to engage, educate, and support patients. With more features coming in the future, you don’t want to miss what’s on offer. Read more to find out.  


The Bedside Units 

These legacy units are old pieces of kit that were introduced in the early 2000s. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have some cracking features to help educate patients and make them feel more comfortable in hospital. There are two versions, the older T2 that has a remote control; and the younger T3 that is touch screen.  

Patient Safety Video

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Both units have the Patient Safety Video. By watching this, the patient knows what to expect while in hospital, what rules to follow, and have a greater understanding of how their hospital stay will go. They can also watch this as many times as they like. If a dementia patient forgot some of the protocols or is confused as to why they have to wear certain socks, the nurse can simply show them the video again.  


A-Z Health Index 

The T3 units help patients be more involved with their treatment thanks to the accessibility of the NHS A-Z Health Index. Perhaps the patient forgot what the doctor said about their condition or haven’t fully processed the information they were told. Access to the Health Index allows the patient to search for their condition and read more about it. Therefore, educating them about their condition and making them more involved with their recovery process. The more they understand, the more they can help themselves and ask the right questions.  

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GP Services 

These units also make ordering prescriptions easier while in the hospital. There’s a direct link to access GP services so they can order their prescription to the hospital for when they get discharged. No need to go home, order the prescription, then go back to the hospital to collect it. This convenient feature saves the patient time and money.  



SPARK® Media 

As SPARK® Media is a more modern platform that utilises the BYOD solution (Bring Your Own Device), it’s capable of a lot more. This is a virtual service that translates onto any existing device within hospitals that have opted for it. SPARK® Media offers entertainment, education and engagement on smart devices, which compliments the bedside units already available. SPARK® Media is packaged in to five and you can read more about those  here.  Two packages that we will be looking at today are Engage and Clinical.  


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Part of this service is the NHS Choices Video Library or a personalised health education service. They are more extensive and interactive versions of the Health Index. The videos provide guides on aftercare, movements and stretches to help with stiffness after being in a hospital bed for a while. The list can go on and on depending on what videos the NHS Trust want to add on there. This helps those who learn and understand more visually rather than just reading off a screen. 

Another feature is the Service Request where the patient is empowered to make requests directly to the correct department, rather than interrupting healthcare professionals. This makes the system more efficient and help the patient see the right person for their needs.  


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Description automatically generatedOn the clinical side, SPARK® Media uses PAS integration and/or HL7 integration to enable clinicians to show the patient key information about their health journey. Staff can also use it to access the patients records and clinical systems. Now this is only available on verified Trust-owned hardware for security purposes. This way the staff can easily show the patient their information, details about their health journey, and more. This information is shown on a smaller handheld device like an iPad, and SPARK® Horizon Terminals, rather than an immobile computer. Therefore, the patient can be more easily involved in their journey and have a greater sense of understanding.  


The Future 

People are most frightened when things are unknown, especially when it concerns their body. These systems help the patient understand what is happening to them and provide them with the information they need to be more involved. Technology also makes the lives of the staff easier.  

Since the acquisition of Hospedia, WiFi SPARK and Hospedia will become SPARK® and offer market-leading services that span across BYOD and upgraded bedside units.  

We are currently working on an Apps Catalogue. Think of it like when you get a new smartphone. There are a set of apps that come as standard, then an app store where you can choose additional apps. Within the Apps Catalogue, there will be collections of apps suited for specific needs. For example, there could be a collection of apps for dementia patients. A Trust could purchase that bundle and deploy it on the bedside units in Dementia wards.  

There are some amazing health care apps out there, but no easy way for NHS staff to access and support them on one connective platform. Until now. SPARK is bringing modern solutions to NHS problems, improving the overall patient experience.  

Join us on our journey and into the future of healthcare services.  

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