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15.09.2019 | 5 min read.

IPTV in the Healthcare Industry

Improving the quality of patient care and optimizing staff workflows through patient TV solutions

Danny I. Shaw

Hospital TV systems and IPTV technology can be used for more than just watching TV. While improving the patient experience through entertainment, it also increases the quality of patient care and optimizes staff workflows.

We’ve all used some form of IPTV at home, either from our Comcast-type provider or from our subscriptions like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Now imagine using the same technology to deliver hospital services directly to the patient bed via the in-room TV, including the same entertainment we have at home.

Each bed can now have your own customized content using your own subscriptions while the TV can also provide your personalized schedule, hospital information, and even training programs to help you when you are discharged.

At the same time, screens in public areas can integrate with surrounding systems to provide guidance, dynamic information and important messages as part of the professional care workflow, alongside regular digital signage content like news, weather, ads and TV channels.

Hospitals are under big pressure to provide excellent medical service for the patients while keeping costs within annual budgets. With modern IPTV software-based entertainment and information systems, hospitals are able to decrease operational costs, improve staff efficiency and still increase patient satisfaction.

In this blog, I’ll present some of the key issues for the healthcare industry and how a hospital TV solution can help in solving ever evolving requirements.

Interactive and educational patient TV enhances the patient experience and care

Keeping patients informed is an important task for every hospital. Patient education provides accurate and clear information about their treatment and educates them about their illness, which makes patients feel comfortable and secure.

An IPTV system can present clear and on-time information about patient medical conditions or next steps in the treatment process and rehabilitation. In addition, using the TV allows patients to read general information and get a better understanding in the treatment process and nature of the disease. Patients can access the interactive menus in their own language when they have energy to absorb new information, independently from the busy care professionals.

Screen displaying Hibox Smartroom Hospital user interface

Another key requirement is to be able to dynamically change information that’s important to each patient. In fact, the flexibility of the IPTV system allows for quick changes in other areas like information pages, Electronic Program Guide (EPG), and in hospital digital signage.

Some patients just want to push a button and watch TV. An IPTV system enables watching Linear TV, On Demand or Catch Up TV content. Patients can have instant entertainment and not miss their favorite shows while in the hospital. Patients can even stream their own video content from their personal mobile device directly to the hospital Smart TV through screen sharing technologies. In addition, using social apps on the hospital TV allows patients to stay in touch with their friends and family.

Another step in improving medical services for the patients is to provide a more personalized service. Patients can access information on their daily medical team, complete with pictures and contact information directly on the TV. They can check the doctor or head nurse on duty and medical personnel can even send notification messages on the TV. In addition, patients can easily order services like a cup of water or call a nurse directly through the patient TV’s nurse call feature.

True personalisation also involves interactivity, age-appropriate media content and customized user interfaces for different patients. Tailoring the hospital tv system for different wards or hospitals within the same chain further enhances the patient experience.

Benefits for the hospital and staff workflows

Existing TV systems in hospitals are usually traditional cable TV systems based on the coax infrastructure. It requires more space and power, is hard to troubleshoot, and not customizable to each patient. With the IP based TV system, IT teams will benefit from a software-based solution and virtualization support.

An IPTV system requires a small number of servers, thereby taking less space and decreasing the power consumption. It can also be hosted in a variety of ways, including local, hosted or cloud servers.

An IPTV system is also much easier to maintain. The system can serve several locations from the central node enabling centralized administration and troubleshooting. It also reduces the number of required data centers. Video delivery is done from one location and can be easily proactively monitored to guarantee a stable TV service. All Smart TV and STB devices are controlled from the central location, avoiding the need to go in the room for maintenance.

Another important point from the hospital perspective is saving time of the personnel and making their work more efficient. For instance, when a patient calls for nurse with an IPTV system available, the patient can identify the type of call (needs water, pain, or having a problem).

Furthermore, IPTV technologies can be utilized for hospital wayfinding by placing signage screens in lobbies and hallways that guide patients to their destination. And interactive door displays can be used for dynamic allocation of treatment rooms and conference areas.

Two doorway screens in a hospital being used for dynamic allocation of treatment rooms and conference areas

Hospital specific requirements

The healthcare industry requires several specific features for compliance and not every IPTV product is able to support them. The equipment should be interference free, they should be eco friendly, and the should be easily cleaned.

In a hospital environment it is even more important to have a standard based system with clear focus on the patients and hospital benefits, for instance, the remote controls must be shock resistant and designed for disinfection. Additionally, the IPTV system must have a flexible architecture to easily integrate with any hospital information system.

The healthcare industry is a technical environment that has many specific requirements with a clear focus on patient satisfaction. In case of new constructions or performing infrastructure changes, it definitely makes sense to consider an IPTV system for the hospital that improves both the quality of patient care and the operational efficiency of hospital staff and resources.

Improve your patient experience through interactive hospital TV!

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