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Getting Smarter with Investment in Hospital Entertainment Systems

6 minute read

Today’s patients have high expectations when it comes to hospital entertainment systems. They want to be able to stream videos on-demand, listen to podcasts, the radio, play online mobile games and more. Yet many of the bedside entertainment units they encounter are dated, offer limited options and are costly for the hospital to implement and maintain.


Here's why a modern entertainment system is a better investment for hospitals.

People Expect it to Boost Their Satisfaction

Patients are now more reliant on their own smartphones and tablets than ever before. In particular, they expect to have access to their smartphones wherever they are - as suggested by a recent Deloitte study that found more than half (53 percent) of 16-75 year olds in the UK use their devices while walking. This figure is even higher in people aged 16-24, with 74 percent admitting this.


If people use their smartphones even when walking, it’s safe to assume this attitude to smartphones extends to hospitals too.


When it comes to making their stay in hospital more pleasant and comfortable, patients want to be able to access all the apps they need. The outdated bedside units are unlikely to allow this and the hospital could provide Trust-owned devices, but it’s much easier (and more cost effective) to let patients use their own devices.


In addition, because it’s the patient’s own device, they’ll be familiar with it and be able to access the information that’s relevant to them. This makes things much simpler which boosts overall patient satisfaction.


An Opportunity to Integrate Multiple Hospital Services Onto One Platform

Unlike the outdated legacy systems which weren’t user friendly and allowed limited entertainment options for the patient, newer solutions can integrate multiple hospital facilities and other information onto one platform. Ultimately, this helps to create a more seamless environment in the hospital which boosts patient experience.


For example, solutions like SPARKⓇ Media allow patients to:


  • Access a multitude of entertainment options, such as streaming live TV, on-demand videos, music and premium channels, via smartphone (or other devices’) apps. This helps to keep patients occupied and entertained throughout their hospital stay, which boosts their mood.
  • Make small requests like asking for a glass of water or an extra pillow without having to look for and call over a member of staff. They can make the request via the platform.
  • Access information related to their care via a section on the platform that provides a digital window to the medical practitioner’s files. They no longer need to ask a member of staff who also no longer needs to search for this information.
  • Place orders for meals electronically rather than a meal card. This makes it easier to ask for specific dietary requirements and ensure food does not get wasted.


Cheaper Than Bedside Units

The old bedside entertainment units might have seemed like a good investment back in the day, but patient and NHS staff demands have grown so much now that these systems are struggling to keep up. They’re expensive to maintain, patients find it difficult to use them, and as the majority of hospitals are locked into lengthy contracts, they’ve become more of a costly burden than a benefit.


In contrast, allowing patients to use their own devices means the NHS no longer needs to invest in these legacy systems. Or any physical unit, for that matter, as the patients will be bringing their own devices. These devices can be used anywhere in the hospital, opening up patient entertainment in areas previously restricted, out-patients, A&E and waiting rooms.

Ultimately, this makes smartphone and tablet integration a better investment for hospital entertainment systems.


Saves Valuable NHS Resources

Allowing patients to access the resources that matter to them on the device of their choice doesn’t just boost satisfaction. It also helps to preserve precious NHS resources. For example, integrating a hospital entertainment system with the Trust’s meal ordering provider can significantly reduce food wastage.


Between 2011 and 2012, a survey found that the number of NHS hospital meals that were left uneaten rose above nine million, which cost circa £27m.


A meal ordering function which is part of the hospital entertainment system can help prevent this in a number of ways, including linking individual patients to their bed and ward number so the wrong meal isn’t sent to the wrong patient. Electronic menus will clearly state ingredients, so patients are aware of a meal’s contents and can avoid ordering something that they might be allergic to.


There’s also the issue of legacy systems taking up valuable ward space. This can prevent the ward managers from fully optimising capacity. They also require a lot of power to run and maintain. When these are combined with the fact that legacy systems don’t meet the patient’s ever-evolving expectations, it’s clear that they are needlessly draining the NHS’ resources.


In contrast, mobile devices allow the NHS to save money as they no longer need to pay for the installation, running and maintenance of systems. It also means there’s no bulky equipment taking up physical space in the ward and getting in the way of staff tasks.


Potential to Boost Staff Productivity

Integrating hospital entertainment systems with tablets and smartphones can also boost staff productivity.

For example, SPARKⓇ Media allows healthcare professionals to instantly access information with secure authentication, at the patient’s bedside. On the back of this, the platform integrates with HL7 to display information pertinent to the patient’s care, in which the patient can view without the need to ask staff for assistance.


This information includes date of discharge, their allergy or dietary specific menus and educative content and videos relating to their care.


There are also other options, such as a “service request” feature. This allows patients to make small requests via the platform rather than stopping a member of staff from finishing their task to see to this request. This also boosts overall productivity as ad-hoc requests like these can be tended to by the correct member of staff.

Entertainment Systems Can Help Hospital Trusts Provide Better Healthcare. Read More About it Here…

Many NHS Trusts are looking to pursue a connected WiFi mission, allowing patients to access all the resources and information that matter to them via the apps and devices of their choice. With the majority of the UK public being more reliant on smartphones than ever before, it’s clear that allowing for personal device adoption in hospital entertainment systems is a much more cost-effective decision than the bedside units. Solutions, like SPARKⓇ Media, can help.


If you’d like to find out more about how hospital entertainment systems can benefit the NHS,  download a free copy of our SPARKⓇ Media brochure below.


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