We're now approaching the 2020 deadline for closing the £20 billion funding gap within the NHS. In 2013, the Five Year Forward View presented three scenarios to combat this, all of which aim to improve demand and efficiency gains. One of the key ways hospital Trusts can save money is to improve the patient experience.
Here are four ways that it helps.
- Reduces Food Wastage
- Optimises Staff Productivity
- Patients Spend Less Time in Hospital
- More Opportunities for Feedback
The NHS has been accused of wasting millions of pounds on uneaten food. Between 2011 and 2012, over nine million meals were left uneaten which cost the NHS £27m. A number of Trusts saw more than a quarter of meals returned.
Patient experience can be improved by ensuring hospital meals aren’t wasted. For instance, patients can be provided with menus that clearly list the ingredients. This means patients with dietary requirements can order meals that they can actually eat and so reduces the chance of wasted meals.
Or, a hospital management system can be used which links individual patients to their bed and ward number so if they move, the meal can be redirected to them. Alternatively, if the patient is discharged the day after they’ve ordered the meal, the system can automatically be updated. This reduces the chance of wasted meals as it ensures the right patient gets the right meal.
Unhappy patients can lead to an unwillingness to cooperate with staff. This negatively impacts the staff’s overall productivity, as the health team may need to spend more time appeasing patients, rather than focussing on their core tasks.
This outcome can be avoided by improving the patient experience. For example, if patients are entertained, it can boost their mood and make it more likely that they’ll cooperate with the health team. This then positively impacts the hospital’s overall efficiency and productivity.
As a more satisfied patient is more likely to cooperate with staff, it means medical practitioners can be more efficient and perform their job more effectively. This means the patient receives better quality of healthcare and potentially has to spend less time in hospital, which frees up beds more quickly.
This allows the Trust to allocate their resources more evenly and treat even more patients.
A happier patient doesn’t just make it easier for the NHS staff to do their job. It also means the patient will be more likely to give feedback via tools like the Friends and Family Test as they’ll be in the mood to do so.
In addition, a happier patient is more likely to give unbiased, reasonable feedback as opposed to a disgruntled patient whose bad mood might cloud their judgment. Being able to gather feedback is the only way Trusts can find out which areas are working and which need improving. Honest feedback will be much more useful and help to further reduce patient complaints in the long run.
And Patient Experience Can Easily Be Improved with a Patient Entertainment System That Helps Make Trusts More Efficient…
Hospitals can be large, lonely places where patients tend to feel isolated from the rest of the world. This, combined with the limitations of the traditional bedside entertainment systems that are currently installed in the majority of hospitals, can significantly impact patient happiness and satisfaction.
That’s why many hospital Trusts are looking for a more cost effective, user friendly alternative. The legacy systems, which are more than 10 years out of date, should be replaced by an engaging patient entertainment system - like SPARKⓇ Media.
SPARKⓇ Media uses the power of Datasym to make meal ordering easy, straight from the patient's own device. Using their own mobile device, they can stream on-demand entertainment and order meals. This seemingly innocuous inclusion of meal ordering allows trusts to drastically reduce the amount of food wasted during each and every meal service.
These systems have a variety of capabilities that can help both the patient and the NHS staff, and these include:
- Allowing patients to stream live TV, on-demand videos, music and premium channels from the smart device of their choice.
- Allowing patients to read electronic menus and order meals via their device without needing to pass around a meal card that might easily be misplaced or misread.
- Linking patients to their bed and ward number so if they move, staff can see where they might have gone and redirect meals to them. Thus, reducing food wastage.
- Having a “service request” feature that allows patients to make small requests at a touch of a button, like asking for a glass of water or an extra blanket, rather than interrupting a staff member. This ensures ad-hoc tasks like this are picked up by the correct member of staff and the productivity of the rest of the team isn’t affected.
- Providing a digital window into the medical practitioner’s notes so patients can see a snapshot view into their healthcare. They don’t need to ask a staff member to find out. It also means other NHS staff can quickly find this information and present it to patients - which ensures maximum efficiency and productivity.
The above benefits aren’t the only features of a patient entertainment system. If you’d like to read more about these platforms and the benefits they can bring to the NHS, download a free copy of our SPARKⓇ Media brochure below. Inside, you'll see how we integrated the service offered by Datasym with our platform to help Trusts like yours achieve huge savings.