One of the NHS’ biggest and most important challenges is improving the quality of care for its patients. Even with an inspired workforce and the latest technological developments, tackling this challenge will be difficult.
However, certain things can boost patient happiness and help Trusts meet CQUIN targets. Here’s what they are and why service improvement is important in the NHS.
The Current State of the NHS
After eight years of one percent rises, it was finally announced that the NHS budget will be increasing by £20 billion a year, which is 3.4% higher than previous years. Although this is a significant increase, many analysts wonder if it’ll be enough as the budget has been so tight over the past decade. This has led to many reports of the quality deteriorating.
For instance, hospital waiting times have increased, with the number of people waiting nearly 18 weeks for appointments increasing by 35% over the past year. Last year, it was found that almost three-quarters of hospitals in England had patients waiting more than 100 days to be discharged, even when they were medically fit to leave.
These figures show just how essential it is for the NHS and supporting systems to improve services. But while past budget cuts hindered progress, it doesn’t necessarily mean the two are conflicting aims. In fact, there are several ways in which NHS Trusts can improve the quality of their care and boost patient satisfaction without straining the budget.
How to Improve Services and Patient Happiness to Meet CQUIN Targets
- Provide patient entertainment systems to boost their hospital experience.
- Choose the right WiFi vendor who can provide you with vital analytics.
- Encourage patients to give feedback.
Provide Patient Entertainment Systems to Boost Their Hospital Experience
Although hospitals are usually quite busy, they can still feel like very lonely places - especially if you’re a patient who has to wait several days, weeks or longer to be discharged. When there’s little to do, it can get even lonelier and the days can feel as though they’re endlessly dragging on.
This can impact the patient’s experience in the hospital and if they’re in a poor mood, they may be less willing to cooperate with staff.
This is where patient entertainment systems come in. These come integrated with various entertainment features, such as the ability to watch TV and listen to the radio. However, many Trusts rely on old legacy systems which are limited in what they offer and patients often have to pay for these services. These costs can quickly add up.
Modern patient entertainment systems, however, are much more advanced, convenient and digitally inclusive. For instance, they can’t only watch live TV, they can also:
- Stream videos on demand.
- Listen to music.
- Access premium channels.
- Browse social media.
- Video call friends and family.
It’s not just entertainment either. These sophisticated systems also allow patients to access vital information related to their healthcare. This means they can stay in the loop with what’s going on in regards to their treatment without needing to ask the medical staff for updates.
There are also various integrated features. Two are particularly noteworthy: a meal ordering feature which can replace the old meal card system and a service request feature.
The NHS is notorious for food wastage, with reports of the worst Trusts seeing more than a quarter of the meals they served being returned.
The new meal ordering feature means that patients can order from an electronic menu, which clearly states the ingredients so people can choose according to their dietary requirements. The system can also link to individual patients, and their bed and ward number, so if they need to be moved, their food can be redirected to them.
This helps to cut down on food wastage, which is vital if the NHS is to save money.
As for the service request feature, this means patients can now ask for minor things, such as for a glass of water, without needing to disturb a member of staff. They just need to press a button on their mobile device, ask for what they want and this request will then be picked up by the appropriate member of staff.
This means the productivity of the other team members doesn’t need to be affected and hospitals can maintain their efficiency.
How Can These Systems Help Improve Quality of Care?
Patient entertainment systems ultimately help to boost patient mood and happiness. A happy patient is one who is more likely to cooperate with staff and give positive feedback. This can help staff focus on completing their other vital medical-related tasks without any distractions and deliver a better healthcare service.
Choose the Right WiFi Vendor Who Can Provide You With Vital Analytics
WiFi will soon be mandatory in all NHS buildings, as per the digital mandate. But it’s important that you choose the right WiFi vendor because not all of them will provide you with the features you need for service improvement.
Many well-known WiFi vendors provide just connectivity and nothing else. While this might sound simple, it also means you won’t have access to any analytical data. These include anonymous patient trends and habits (which can help with resource management) or the ability for clinical staff to use a patient’s device to help communicate information.
How Can WiFi Help Improve Quality of Care?
This data is vital because it can give you insight into how your Trust should be allocating its resources and where is best to invest. Knowing how patients and visitors interact with your hospital’s services allows you to tailor your offerings (from retail vendors to staff rotas) more closely to their behaviours.
This can significantly boost NHS productivity and create a more efficient hospital environment.
Encourage Patients to Give Feedback
Feedback is one of the quickest and simplest ways the NHS can improve its services. But obtaining the feedback isn’t so easy. Many patients don’t complete these surveys because they forget or they don’t want to.
Patient entertainment systems can help here. The systems offer integrated opportunities for feedback (such as the Friends and Family test). As they’re clearly displayed on the screen of the device patients use, they’re much more likely to take part in the surveys.
Plus, if they’re passing the time on their own device, they’ll be more willing to actually give helpful feedback.
Service Improvement Is Vital for NHS Growth, but Hospitals Help
For the NHS to continue to keep the country stay fit and healthy, its services need to always improve. Patients can help with that by providing valuable feedback. Obtaining it can be challenging, but hospital WiFi and patient entertainment systems can help boost a patient’s mood, ensuring they’re more cooperative.
If you’re interested in finding out more on what WiFi can do for the NHS and how patient entertainment can help your Trust meet CQUIN targets, download a free copy of our SPARKⓇ Media brochure below.