By Tom Mottlau
Director of Healthcare and Emerging Markets
LG Business Solutions USA
When a healthcare provider has the right infrastructure in place and a network of smart TVs, securely integrated with electronic medical records (EMR) and other systems, the hospital TV solution can help deliver a variety of patient amenities in support of outcomes-based care. In Part 2 we detailed entertainment and education; today we’ll conclude with real-time communication, patient comfort, access to hospital services, and providing a holistic, digital patient experience.
Real-Time Communication — Because a smart, hospital room TV integrated with EMR and third-party systems may be able to be set up for the patient and why they’re in the hospital, it can provide a platform for ongoing communication. “While the patient is watching a show, information can overlay on top of the program, telling them, ‘It’s time to take your medication now. The nurse will be in shortly,’” explains GetWellNetwork’s Cavanaugh. “Or a message can appear saying, ‘You received pain meds a couple hours ago. How are you feeling now?’ and the TV prompts the patient to rate their pain through the system.” The goal is to better monitor a patient’s experience and take real-time action to help ensure their stay has a positive outcome.
Patient Comfort — Smart TVs and interactive patient systems may also be integrated with building management automation systems so patients can control their in-room environments — another way to help boost satisfaction and comfort. “We have environmental control interfaces that can allow the patients to control the temperature, shades and lighting of their environment,” says SONIFI Health’s Gruenwald. And, in the interest of mitigating light and noise issues which can be problematic for hospitals at night, smart TV systems may be able to turn themselves off when not being watched. “We have an app that runs every night during quiet times, sending a message out to the TV and asking (the patient) ‘The TV is on, are you still watching TV?’” explains pCare’s Cortina. “If they don’t answer, we turn the TV off automatically. If the TV remains on, we lower the volume to a specified maximum level for night time.”
Access to Hospital Services — Smart TVs running patient engagement software may be able to be programmed to accomplish a variety of tasks. “We have the ability to let patients order meals on-screen, tailored to their diets,” says Aceso’s Mathur. “Based on the EMR and dietary system, they only see on the smart TV a menu of items they can eat or drink.” And increasingly, in-room smart TVs can support virtual visits from hospital staff. “We’ve created a module (Tele-Nurse) within our interactive platform to provide on-demand virtual nurse sessions to a patient,” explains Hassan Sharif, Technology Director at Cary, North Carolina-based TeleHealth Services, which designs and installs hospital display systems and offers its TigrPX interactive patient platform. “That ability to interface with a healthcare provider from the TV is seen as very valuable, especially now during the COVID crisis.”
A Holistic, Digital Patient Experience — Patient experience solutions aren’t confined to in-room TVs. These platforms may also support content and communications on digital signage throughout a facility; on digital versions of the in-room white board, where patients and healthcare providers can easily post and update information about treatment; on small, electronic signs outside the room; and increasingly, on the mobile devices of patients and their family.
Technology providers continue to innovate patient experience delivery over these platforms, based largely on the goals of healthcare providers. MDM Healthcare, based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, has taken its Journey PX patient experience solution and deployed it in a HIPPA-compliant cloud, offering hospitals a flexible way to build a system, especially if their budget and technology infrastructure are limited. “It’s important, especially with COVID-19, to be able to provide more content outside the hospital,” says Themis Koumoutseas, MDM Healthcare’s Vice President of Technical Operations. “With a solution like this, hospitals can help improve patient satisfaction and reduce readmissions.”
Every provider’s goals might be different, which is why all these solutions can be tailored to deliver the needed outcomes. A pervasive smart TV infrastructure helps make it possible. “We take all the feedback we get from the healthcare systems we work in and share them with our technology provider,” says GetWellNetwork’s Cavanaugh. GetWellNetwork, Aceso, MDM Healthcare, SONIFI Health, TeleHealth Services and TVR pCare are systems integration partners of LG Electronics USA, working collectively to help improve patient outcomes through greater engagement. “These hospitals are spending time and money to create an environment that is welcoming to healing, as well as aesthetically pleasing. The TV can be central to that effort.”