How is the NHS' favourite patient engagement platform performing?

5 Minute Read

In September of 2021, we at WiFi SPARK changed the way we collected usage data on the performance of our signature patient entertainment platform, SPARK® Media. In the final quarter of the year, we were able to look at the most popular movements across the platform and use this data to report back to the relative Trusts to inform developments in the platform and paint a picture of what is performing well and what they would benefit from being added in the future.  

This data provides a fascinating insight into what patients, visitors, and staff across the NHS like to spend their downtime doing. SPARK® Media provides access to a range of services, from free TV, hospital radio, and magazines to tailored dementia services, NHS charity links, and access to the NHS Apps Library, the plethora of engagement opportunities ensures that there is something for everyone.  

So, let us look back on 2021 and how SPARK® Media visitors spent their time. 

The NHS’ favourite patient engagement platform received an incredible 2,305,003 visits in the final quarter of 2021.  

SPARK Media PhoneTo make sure patients are aware of the services on offer, Trusts often opt to take their users directly to the platform upon connection to the free NHS WiFi, provided by WiFi SPARK. This contributes to the high number of visitors but also ensures that any customisation to the SPARK® Media dashboard, such as the addition of Trust charity branding (see the image below for an example) is visible to each and every user, increasing exposure and giving the user an opportunity to engage with site-specific content.

11,340 users watched live TV through SPARK® Media in the final quarter of the year. Freeview channels can be streamed to users' devices along with a comprehensive TV guide to ensure an unplanned hospital visit does not mean they have to miss their favourite soap or football match.  

On the whole, the top engaging SPARK® Media sites all provide free TV to their users. The top three sites in 2021, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Foundation Trust, and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust all saw the highest levels of usage and the provision of Freeview TV certainly plays a role in that.  

We can also see that TV sites, on average, see a greater number of clicks on charity banners. The University Hospitals of North Midlands, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust saw high interaction rates with their respective charity’s content.  

Across the board, the end of 2021 saw 3,215 clicks on charity donation banners within the SPARK® Media platform. The addition of this exposure could contribute to around £7,000 a month being raised for a range of NHS charities.  2021 Services Usage Pie Chart

From the pie chart on the left, we can see a breakdown of the most popular entertainment services. TV usage dominates across the sites with our digital games platform coming in second. Brain teasing games such as Sudoku proved most popular within the application, interestingly suggesting that adults engage with the platform more than the younger market. On-Demand services such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and Netflix saw a high amount of interaction as well taking up 12% of usage. Hospital radio stations, even though only available at some Trusts, still managed to rack up 4% of entertainment engagement.

Looking forensically at the data, some of the popular links were the BBC Music Memories dementia services, the Metro newspaper, and a digital colouring in application, suggesting that users engage with the services to relax and find some peace and quiet during their time in hospital.  

With data beginning to roll in from September 2021, we are starting to see some exciting usage statistics that help us to work with Trusts to develop tailored services responding to what users find popular at each site.


SPARK® Media is the NHS’ favourite patient engagement platform. To find out more about its offering, visit the SPARK® Media website page or download an updated guide to the platform’s features.  

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