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Healthcare televisions provide foundation of hospital patient satisfaction and education

Matt Barker, Vice President of Marketing and Interactive Solutions, TeleHealth Services

Hospitals are embracing the technology infrastructure in patient rooms as a strategy to differentiate services and improve patient experience.

Investments in technology that improve care, support financial reimbursements, increase safety and reduce readmissions also are driving improved Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient satisfaction scores.  

While at home, people watch TV an average of six hours a day. In a hospital, TV viewing increases to almost 11 hours each day. Hospital televisions offer a welcome distraction during a difficult time. Hospitals are investing in an infrastructure that provides quality entertainment on high-definition televisions on par with what patients experience when they are at home or in a hotel room. Healthcare has joined the hospitality industry in recognizing that quality entertainment improves the experience and builds brand loyalty.

For example, Steward Health Care System in Boston, with more than 2,000 beds, has invested more than $850 million in technology, including enhancements to the entertainment experience to promote a more home-like environment. The investment is paying off. Steward reported $30 million in savings in the Medicare Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program in the first three years. The hospital system is on the leading edge of making the ACO model work in Massachusetts by delivering better care at lower costs, and making sure the patient experience is convenient and comfortable.

“Patients look for amenities that provide the comforts of their home while away from home,” says Scott Kenyon, vice president of Environmental Management, Corporate Real Estate and Facilities. “Starting in their rooms, patients have the ability to access gaming consoles through the Samsung healthcare televisions and now we have introduced the ability for these patients to view their favorite TV shows and movies in high definition. We are generating an exceptional patient experience that combines social media and HDTV while fostering a new brand image for the hospital.”

Interactive education and engagement

The technology infrastructure to support quality entertainment also provides a platform to educate patients about their care, transforming bedside televisions into a valuable clinical resource. Interactive patient education systems (video on-demand and/or Internet-enabled units) are becoming integral to the patient and staff satisfaction standards in hospitals.

On-demand education systems are quickly becoming valuable assets that improve efficiency of hospital personnel and boost patient satisfaction metrics. Televisions serve as the visual delivery method for complying with regulatory standards and documenting education that improves clinical outcomes.

For example, these systems automate the delivery of patient-specific medication education in multiple languages when medications are prescribed in the EMR. Nurses are immediately informed about what videos patients view and are prompted to discuss the medications and answer questions. These education events are also recorded in the EMR to easily track a patient’s education viewing history and comprehension.

A new way of learning

Over the past decade, technology has dramatically enhanced the way we communicate and learn. Conventional printed materials given to patients are often not read or understood. Research has shown that interactive video-based learning increases comprehension by more than 50 percent. Using a multimedia approach in patient education also helps address literacy issues among diverse patient populations.

Patients and family members expect to be educated on their conditions and treatment. Tech savvy patients and caregivers are looking for solutions. Interactive patient engagement solutions and on-demand video systems meet both patient and facility needs by optimizing information and education at the patient point of care. These investments lead to improved clinical outcomes and increased reimbursements based on driving down readmissions and other outcome measures.

Healthcare grade televisions

While patients appreciate the wide-screen, crystal-clear HDTV picture, it is not the only technological detail that should be considered in a hospital’s television purchase. Healthcare-grade HDTVs offer a range of non-technical benefits to a facility as well, from space savings to better aesthetics and safety designs such as curved corner chassis and front-mounted speakers. Energy savings can be significant compared to older technologies. For example, a 100-bed hospital can save more than $15,000 over the lifetime of the healthcare-grade sets.

Manufacturers design healthcare-grade televisions specifically for use in the hospital setting. Healthcare-grade televisions meet safety regulations set by The Joint Commission, the National Fire Protection Agency and the National Electrical Code agencies. They meet the more rigorous electrical standards in hospitals and are sturdier than consumer models. They also include numerous features designed to ease installation and increase patient satisfaction, such as volume-limit controls, multiple inputs for pillow speaker control, and front panel locking control. Facility managers benefit from set-up via USB cloning and decoding technology that ensures all satellite and cable channels meet Digital Rights Management technology. Only healthcare-grade TVs provide warranties that cover hospital use.

 New opportunities in market-oriented health policy and practices are founded on “managed consumerism,” a blend of patient-centric focus on consumer-driven healthcare and the provider-centric focus of managed competition. The right investments in hospital television technology encompass solutions that address today’s patient satisfaction, education and quality of care opportunities while positioning hospitals to meet future patient/provider needs as they emerge.