Q1: Why has WiFi SPARK® acquired Hospedia?

Hospedia's bedside entertainment units were initially rolled out in the early 2000s to replace TV sets on ward trolleys, payphones in hospital corridors and patients paid to access services. While this was a step change in technology for the NHS at the time, in recent years, the pay to use business model is no longer contributing to a positive patient experience.

Following Hospedia's acquisition by WiFi SPARK®'s parent company, Volaris, the company now has the resources to implement a unified solution. We're championing the cause of patients receiving entertainment and engagement services for free. 

WiFi SPARK®'s management team is now leading both businesses and is driving the vision of integrating the two companies to benefit the healthcare market. Over the next three years, the vision is to facilitate patient, staff and visitor access to entertainment and engagement services within healthcare facilities for free. 

To realise this vision, we need the help of the NHS and healthcare entities.

Q2: Our Trust uses Hospedia. What happens now?

Our long term goal is to oversee the transformation of around 56,500 bedside units in 160 hospitals to support the free entertainment and engagement vision, which is expected to take around three years. Existing Hospedia sites can upgrade to a bring your own device (BYOD) model. You can roll out SPARK® alongside the existing bedside units and work with us to install new bedside terminal technology, which will offer the technological advantages of modern, up to date equipment.

Q3: How does the new patient engagement vision impact my Trust?

The vision aims to provide a better balance between BYOD entertainment and bedside units. With some Trusts having solutions that utilise one or the other and few Trusts engaging in both, it's time to provide equal entertainment opportunities for all patients.

Legacy bedside entertainment units were installed a long time ago at no cost to the Trusts. However, maintaining them has been expensive and the technology has failed to keep up with digital transformation. Our vision is to provide Trusts with up to date technology that will support a wide range of applications and facilitate the installation of the units where they are most needed. 

The BYOD solution will work ubiquitously throughout the Trust, giving users access to a range of engagement opportunities such as television, hospital radio, games, charity awareness and educational content. 

Moving away from the patient-pays model currently in place will need investment from the Trust and/or the charities that support them. However, we estimate that for most Trusts, a payment of less than £1 per bed per day would cover the cost of a free service.

Q4: How will the acquisition benefit Trusts?

It prioritises free engagement opportunities for patients

Of course, the key benefit is offering free entertainment to patients. However, SPARK® offers variety to ensure everyone finds something to entertain themselves. Patients can choose from a range of options, including TV, radio, catch up TV, a digital newsstand and games. Patients can also access their favourite streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. However, they'll need to already have an established account.

Services are integrated

In addition to this, SPARK® can easily integrate with a range of digital services, including clinical records and digital meal ordering. The integration with food services allows patients to order meals directly from their bed and easily cancel, amend or redirect their orders as circumstances change. All digital service integrations aim to improve the quality of care and positively impact the patient experience.

It offers wellness & support

Dementia support services, communication aids and health videos are just some of the wellbeing options available on the platform to enable patients to take control of their care. With an empowered selection of resources, these applications ensure patients can be looked after and remain engaged without the presence of a staff member. 

The latest technology to empower your Trust

With our new vision, we'll continually develop the software to bring the best technology to the NHS and healthcare organisations. This includes building an ‘apps catalogue,’ allowing Trusts to add more tailored services and engagement opportunities to patients and staff. While the technology may span the breadth of the NHS, your Trust’s solution will be tailored to your audience.

Q5: How will the acquisition affect staff?

It'll increase productivity & efficiency

  • Using the bedside units to access Trust IT systems would make it easier for staff to use electronic systems at the bedside without finding a computer on wheels or returning to a ward station to make up notes and orders. 

  • With patients being entertained and more self-sufficient, members of staff are freed up for other tasks. Communication with patients and visitors through the service will offer improved efficiencies to know what the patient needs rather than relying on a nurse call button.

  • With a unified solution giving access to Trust-specific surveys, patients can provide feedback informing staff of their opinions. This allows Trusts to make positive changes which will increase patient satisfaction. 

It provides added value

  • Staff can also utilise the services available to patients, such as free TV, magazines and games on their breaks or in their residences.

  • The platform is continually being developed in conjunction with Trusts and healthcare professionals. WiFi SPARK® welcomes input on how it can make life easier for staff. 

By leveraging existing infrastructure, Trusts can ensure entertainment accessible for everyone, with or without their personal device and can be transformed to better suit staff and encourage digital maturity in the most effective way possible.

Q6: Is there a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution?

Ideally, Trusts need choice, flexibility and productivity. The best complete solution for hospitals would be to create a unified experience, replace bedside units with the new generation of bedside units and offer a BYOD solution. 

This ensures the latest offerings and services are available and that patients don't have to pay for entertainment. What’s more, all patients, regardless of age or digital savviness, can use it and staff can use portable devices when on the move or tap into bedside units if no devices are available. 

If Trusts aren’t ready to upgrade to our next-generation technology, existing Hospedia sites can upgrade to add our BYOD SPARK® Media solution. This gives patients access to free or paid TV on the BYOD system and services like Netflix and Amazon Video, where they already have accounts.

We'll reduce the cost to patients on the existing bedside units with  Trust/Charity/Sponsorship funding.

Q7: What is the next generation entertainment bedside unit?

The next generation of bedside units are state-of-the-art terminals that will be a game-changer for the NHS.

There are a range of additional benefits for Trusts and their patients, including:

  • Ability to be wall-mounted, a meal trolley table as well as a workstation on wheels.

  • A comprehensive Apps catalogue will be available, such as:
    • Telephony
    • Patient journey
    • Patient education 
    • Dementia support service
    • Meal ordering
    • Surveys
    • Quizzes
    • Parking
    • Shopping
    • Games and entertainment
    • Translations
    • Patient communications
    • Clinical apps
  • Clinical Systems
    • PAS/EPR
    • E-Prescribing
    • Bed management
    • Facilities
    • Observations
    • Nurse call
  • Better insights into the patient journey
  • An improved patient education
  • Easy access to dementia support services for all
  • Better service desk support
  • Excellent health and safety
  • Insightful analytics

Q8: What entertainment is available on the Bedside Units?

There are three models of BSU (Bedside Unit), T3, T2D, and T2A. Attached are PDFs with information about the type of entertainment available, and some of the price information. 

Note: WiFi SPARK do not want to continue charging patients for entertainment. We have a vison to make this free by 2024

What's available: T3

What's available: T2D

What's avalible: T2A

Contact our support team at 0345 414 1234 if you have any questions about the units.

Q9: What hospital resources are available on Bedside Units?

There are three different models of BSU (Bedside Units) T3, T2D, and T2A. 

They have differing benefits for hospital staff and improving patient experience. Download a PDF to find out more information. 

Hospital resources: T3

Hospital resources: T2D

Hospital resources: T2A

Contact our support team at 0345 414 1234 if you have any questions about the units.


Access our webinar to learn more about our vision for the future of patient experience.

Including a detailed breakdown of why the takeover happened to the benefits it can offer both Trusts and their patients; this one isn’t to be missed.

Watch the webinar on-demand