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Upgrading Your Patient Entertainment and Engagement Platform

8 minute read

Upgrading Your Patient Entertainment and Engagement Platform

Hospitals are often bustling with activity and this can result in patients and visitors having to endure long waiting times. To alleviate the boredom, it is important for hospitals to make entertainment and resources easily accessible. Our initial solution was the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) service using SPARK® Media. However, there are new platforms on the horizon that do not require patients to have their own smart device.


Why is Patient Entertainment and Engagement Important?

Patients without access to entertainment systems are likely to experience boredom, stress, and anxiety, as they have nothing to take their mind off of their circumstances. As a result, time may seem to drag on, causing impatience to rise quickly.

When entertainment systems are provided they come with the following benefits:

  1. Distraction and Relaxation: Provide a distraction from the hospital environment and can help alleviate anxiety. Entertainment options help create a more pleasant and comfortable atmosphere, improving the overall patient experience.
  2. Psychological Well-being: Being in a hospital can be stressful and emotionally challenging for patients. Patient entertainment can contribute to their psychological well-being by providing a sense of normalcy, reducing boredom, and offering a source of enjoyment. It can boost mood, decrease feelings of isolation, and promote a positive mindset, which can positively impact the healing process.
  3. Patient Satisfaction: Access to entertainment options is often cited as an important factor in patient satisfaction surveys. They tend to perceive their overall experience more positively if entertainment is available.
  4. Reduction in Perceived Wait Times: Waiting for appointments, test results, or procedures can be tedious and frustrating for patients. Patient entertainment systems can help reduce perceived wait times by providing engaging content that keeps patients occupied and distracted.

Often, alongside these entertainment services, there are valuable resources such as  educational resources, videos, articles and tools. This encourages a more active participation from the patients with their own care. They are then empowered to make educated decisions and have a greater understanding of their treatment.  

The mandatory provision of free WiFi in all NHS hospitals has paved the way for easier access to patient entertainment and engagement services. With the help of platforms like SPARK® Media, patients can easily access a range of entertainment options and hospital information, providing a more comfortable and informed hospital experience.


What is SPARK® Media?

With approximately 3.8 billion smartphone users worldwide, and projections indicating that this number will reach 4.3 billion by 2023, it's clear that most patients bring their own devices to the hospital. In light of this, we've developed a platform that provides easy access to entertainment options all from their own device. The BYOD solution includes:  

  • Live radio
  • Live TV
  • Catch up
  • Streaming services
  • Puzzle games
  • Magazines and newspapers

SPARK® Media is a web-based service that the user is automatically re-directed to after signing into the hospital WiFi. It’s also easily found by searching 'https://wifitv.co.uk' into a web browser if the user is using data or lost the page. It’s designed to be simple to use and provide entertainment options to patients. Not only does it entertain, but it informs. 

Girl with SPARK Media Print

Hospitals can tailor the healthcare links available on SPARK® Media to align with their patients' needs. These can include resources such as friends and family, Health A-Z, the NHS App, NHS Healthy Living, healthcare videos, and more. By providing easy access to this information, patients no longer need to search for it themselves, as the Trust's preferred options are readily available on display.

In addition to providing entertainment and information to patients, hospitals can also utilise SPARK® Media to promote charitable causes and health campaigns. The platform includes a dedicated charity tab, allowing hospitals to increase exposure and donations for their charity partners. They can also launch campaigns such as 'Get Up and Move' or blood donation drives through simple messaging, leading to positive actions that benefit both patients and the community.


SPARK® Media BSU: The Future of Bedside Entertainment

While own devices are used a lot in hospitals, they do have limitations. If the hospital has poor WiFi, patients may not be able to use streaming services due to bandwidth restrictions. We also know that not everyone has a device to use or may not have it on their person if they arrive into hospital.   

Digital inequality is more apparent than ever in hospitals. The elderly tend to gravitate to older forms of entertainment such as physical magazines, sudoku books, novels etc. But during covid, many magazines and other physical forms of entertainment were taken away because they aided the spread of the disease. In most cases, magazines haven’t returned leaving no entertainment in wards.  


What Does SPARK® Media BSU Look Like?

SPARK® Media BSU is a state-of-the-art bedside unit that resembles a large tablet with a contemporary touch screen and high-quality imaging. It operates like a tablet in a controlled environment, and instead of searching on Google, web links are displayed like modern applications. Patients can effortlessly access resources such as Netflix, hospital information, or in-depth knowledge about their condition from their hospital bed through the click of a button. This new Bedside Unit can use hospital WiFi to display these web-based apps, or directly connect through ethernet. SPARK TSL also provides NHS WiFi through SPARK® Connect as part of our WiFi Solution.

A web link platform might sound familiar. That’s because SPARK® Media works the same way. The Bedside Unit version expands upon this product by making it available to everyone, regardless if they have their own device or not.


  1. Entertainment: SPARK® Media BSU provides a diverse range of free entertainment options for patients, startingSPARK Horizon with catch-up TV and streaming services, before integrating live TV and radio to showcase a broad spectrum of channels and connect with the hospital radio. Additionally, our SPARK® Media add-ons include digital newspapers and magazines, puzzle games, and video calling, among many other limitless options that can be applied.

  2. Engagement: Involving patients in their own care is an essential part of providing a positive patient experience. SPARK® Media BSU
  3.  allows hospitals to provide tailored resources to patients, ensuring they have access to the right information at the right time. From articles and videos, to information databases, hospitals can provide specific resources to particular wards.  Dementia services can also be made available to provide specialist care for patients with cognitive impairments. By providing this information, patients can take an active role in their own care, leading to better outcomes and a more positive experience.

Providing some form of entertainment is essential for all hospitals as it's what patients expect. The combination of the Bring Your Own Device solution and Horizon Bedside Units ensures that there is an option that suits everyone. However, the current Hospedia Bedside Units are outdated and come with limitations despite providing some free entertainment and hospital resources. Upgrading to Horizon and integrating SPARK® Media would cover all bases and significantly enhance the overall patient experience, whilst delivering valuable resources free at the point of use. 

Learn more about SPARK® Media and its upgrade options.


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75% of patients want digital healthcare services

So let’s work together to give it to them, all while optimising NHS processes.

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