Patient Experience and the Role of Hospital Entertainment Systems

4 Minute Read

Patient experience and hospital entertainment systems are two commonly talked-about topics. But how are they related? Does hospital entertainment play a role in patient experience? And how has the provision of hospital entertainment changed to offer more than just a singular benefit to the hospital population? Read on to find out more.

 

Patient Experience Isn’t About Entertainment — But It Can Help 

Contrary to popular belief, patient experience isn’t about entertaining those admitted to the hospital but is centred around engaging individuals and increasing their understanding of care. Watching your favourite TV show may help increase your morale and lessen feelings of isolation, but that’s about as far as entertainment feeds into experience in its traditional sense.* 

*That said, in some specific cases, such as in patients with dementia, entertainment can provide stimulation and improve healthcare outcomes. 

With this knowledge, patient entertainment systems may seem redundant in the patient experience conversation. Yet, with new features and functionalities, patient entertainment apps have a purpose in accelerating recovery and reducing readmission rates, improving the patient experience as a whole. 

Today, these applications do more than connect patients with films, radio, games and other entertainment-based apps. 

Patients can also access important health documentation, watch explainer videos at their leisure and engage in healthcare questionnaires or surveys. Overall, the offering of patient entertainment systems is more holistic and ever more aligned with the objectives of health professionals.

 

Using Patient Entertainment Apps for More

Patient entertainment apps may have entered the market with a heavy focus on distraction — providing patients with some much-needed escapism through access to their favourite media outlets. But as these systems progress, they encourage patients to be present and engaged in their health journey, all while retaining their traditional features.

 

Patient Education 

We’ve long known that education is an important part of improving the patient experience. 

According to research, “To improve healthcare outcomes, physicians must spend more time with patients. The teaching physician’s interaction with the patient must be enthusiastic, motivated and responsive to the individual patient’s needs.” 

Yet, such studies are looking at the ideal healthcare scenario and many of these were carried out pre-pandemic when health care staff capacity differed and one-on-one time with patients was a more reasonable request. 

Now, the sentiment of patient education remains the same, but its delivery needs to change to become more efficient and instantly accessible than what was earlier proposed. Enter patient entertainment apps. 

Through pre-recorded footage that patients can watch in their own time and at their own pace, the hospital population can improve their own healthcare outcomes by absorbing and digesting expert information from their bedside.  

Physicians may still need to be available to answer specific follow-up questions. Yet, this method is proving effective and, in some cases, superior to in-person teaching, given the ability to replay, pause, use subtitles and learn without fear of being judged. 

Especially during the peak of the pandemic when all health care staff were instructed to wear face coverings, in-person communication suffered. This didn’t just impair health care and diagnosis understanding but also the ability to comprehend non-verbal communication, such as facial expressions and emotions. 

Although the pandemic may have preempted these changes, the root problem certainly didn’t start here. More generally, 90% of people struggle following routine medical advice, only asking 0-2 questions on average, resulting in 50% of patients walking out of a healthcare facility blind to what they were told or what to do. 

It seems a new form of patient education is vital, not just as a crisis response but also to change the face of patient understanding.

 

Patient Engagement

Engagement also plays a pivotal role in patient experience, ensuring patients get what they need out of their hospital stay, including primary care and the tools to self-manage their condition when discharged. 

Although patients may engage in light entertainment throughout their stay — and benefit from it as a result – the model stay should include some more actively engaged activities such as conversing with healthcare staff, making plans for the immediate future and providing feedback on the provision of care. 

Feedback and survey uptake are good metrics of patient engagement, yet it also provides insights crucial to improving patient experience. Surveys are a virtuous circle, instantly enhancing the patient experience for the respondent while enriching the experience of others via thoughtful, honest feedback. 

Yet, uptake of patient surveys can be difficult. Medical research finds: “A common weakness of patient satisfaction surveys is a suboptimal participation rate. Some patients may be unable to participate because of language barriers, physical limitations or mental problems.”

One way to increase uptake and make surveys more inclusive is through digital surveys where patients can answer at their convenience, using translation, dictation and any other tool that makes the activity more accessible. 

In providing patients with a satisfaction survey via an application on their personal device, uptake is likely to improve. Patients can feel comfortable completing the survey without bias on a device they trust and with an interface they’re familiar with.

 

Making Vital Healthcare Technology Accessible for All

Clearly, patient entertainment systems have more value than distracting patients with media outlets. Yet, this can be a big benefit to wards with stretched schedules and little tolerance for non-urgent requests

Patient entertainment systems can also positively contribute to patient experience, aiding understanding and engagement, which are the two key components of this. 

Learn more about how WiFi SPARK brings this vital healthcare technology to the masses, with a plan to make bedside terminals free for everyone to use, incorporating applications to enhance understanding and arming patients with convenient ways to provide opinions. Replay our webinar on the topic now.

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