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How Important are Hospital Patient Entertainment Systems?

When we think of entertainment in a hospital, we think of clunky bedside TVs that often get in the way. The NHS is moving away from these legacy systems. They allowed patients to watch TV, but new and innovative options offer so much more, for both patients and NHS Trusts.


Patient entertainment systems are more important than ever. The latest innovations improve not only patient satisfaction but also save the NHS money.


What Do Patients Currently Have Access To?

In 2005, hospitals began to introduce the entertainment systems we’re all now accustomed to. Screens are attached to movable “arms” that can be pulled towards the bed or pushed away as necessary.


Before this, patients had to make do with a radio in the ward to listen to music or a shared TV that would be placed up in the corner of the room. If you had a bed that didn’t have a great view, then bad luck.


Although a vast improvement on the options that came before, patients had to pay to watch TV. This was a cost that patients would have to worry about on top of their current health issues. In some hospitals, the price of watching TV could reach £10 per day.


The systems introduced in 2005 were innovative for the time, but as technology has improved since then, they’re now outdated and insufficient. The screens are bulky, are often in the way and they don’t offer enough functionality.


Even today, a recent survey found that patients have to pay £7.90 for the TV per day if they want to watch outside of their allocated free hours. To access movies or sports channels, the cost increases further. These bills can soon add up, especially if a patient is off work and spending a long period of time in hospital.


Patient Entertainment Systems: How They Help

Boredom is common in hospitals. Patients are isolated from their friends and family for long periods of time and are without many of the distractions of their normal routines. A bored patient is an unhappy one.


70 percent of people asked in one survey stated that they didn’t have enough to do when they were in hospital. For some, an entertainment system and access to live TV and the latest shows on demand can help to pass the time or distract them from the issues they might be facing.


They also reduce the time that’s spent on ad hoc tasks by staff. They could be called to a bed where a patient asks for another pillow or a glass of water. Tasks like these may be carried out by another member of the team, so the message needs to be passed on to them.


Some entertainment systems have functionality included that can be used by patients when they want to make a request to staff. By using the screen at their bed, they’re able to send a request directly to the required member of staff, reducing inefficiency and giving healthcare professionals more time to complete their other work commitments.


This same request system can be used to reduce food wastage in hospitals. Meals are currently being sent to patients that may have been moved or discharged. Portion sizes aren’t changed depending on the patient groups that food is being prepared for. In total, it’s estimated that avoidable food waste costs the NHS £230 million each year. Money that could be better spent elsewhere.


With an entertainment system that’s part of a wider engagement platform, patients are able to make their food requests electronically. There’s no need to take orders 24 hours in advance, during which time the patient may have left or may just want something else to eat. This increases the number of meals that reach the right destination and are actually eaten.


These platforms can be personalised to each patient’s experience. The screens can be used by medical staff to illustrate their plans for treatment and the issues that a patient might be having. For example, it’s an easy way of bringing up the x-rays of a patient or showing an informational video that covers something they might be having trouble understanding.


What’s the Future of Patient Entertainment?

Better patient entertainment and engagement isn’t something to aspire to in the future, it’s happening right now. Cutting-edge systems completely transform the way patients experience the hospital. They improve overall satisfaction and use each person’s experience to shape positive changes to NHS services.


SPARKⓇ Media is a new way for patients to receive entertainment and engage with their healthcare journey.Patients have access to live TV and radio stations, and a wealth of media sources to make their stay more enjoyable.


They’ll be able to access a bank of educational content that’s tailored to their specific healthcare needs, and they’ll also be able to interact with games, surveys, service request applications and so much more.


Being able to access these services on mobile and tablet devices ensures that patients can access all of the beneficial features of this platform on their own device. For those who do not have their own device, the hospital has the option to loan out devices to ensure everyone is included and the service is accessible everywhere. This saves thousands on hardware as well as providing digital inclusion.


The systems are vital additions to hospital wards, improving the experience of not only patients, but also staff. They help Trusts to make vital savings and give them the tools and knowledge they need to make further improvements in the future. For more information on just how important patient entertainment systems are, take a look at our brochure.


Download the SPARKⓇ Media Brochure

To find out more about SPARKⓇ Media and the ways in which it can improve patient satisfaction, download our brochure today. It answers any questions you might have about the system and includes the return on investment that average 600-bed hospitals can expect to make.


Receive your copy of the brochure by clicking on the link below or get in touch with our experts for more information.


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Rebecca Duffin

Rebecca Duffin

Rebecca Duffin

Rebecca is a creative, design-led marketer who has worked for WiFi SPARK since 2012. She is the Head of Marketing and has an in-depth understanding of all elements of the business. She is responsible for lead generation, brand engagement and ensuring the company is the 'Go-To Provider' for more than just WiFi.