When shopping for entertainment solutions for patients, providers want to be sure the devices are safe, reliable, and are technically intuitive so they meet the high standards expected in healthcare. Since technology is constantly evolving, it can be challenging to know how displays differ technically from looking at them on the outside. Here's a checklist to check the hardware and software of the televisions to know if they are up to snuff to advance your facility to the cutting edge of technology and keep you there for years to come.
1. Is this device certified with technical and healthcare safety standards?
Start off by looking for the UL Listing mark. UL is a company that inspects and certifies products to meet the safety requirements of UL and of the governing country the product will be sold in. UL certifies thousands of different types of products, be sure to look for the specific healthcare standard though. UL 60065 Annex Q is the specific standard covering television and video products in a healthcare environment.
2. How will the patient interact with the device?
A key differentiator of healthcare TVs is the ablility to control the TV with a special patient remote - called a pillow speaker (also a UL Listed device). A pillow speaker usually integrates with a nurse call system and has a microphone and speaker embedded to serve the patient when they need assistance. It also can play the audio of the TV through its speaker which by being placed near to the patients head will reduce the need for the patient to turn up the volume and risk disturbing other patients in neighboring rooms or your nursing staff. Not all pillow speakers are designed the same and connect to all healthcare TVs. Find out if the healthcare television has a universal pillow speaker port and if not make sure the TV connection port fits the pillow speaker you are using or that you have another means for the patient to control the television.
3. Is the hospital television designed for infection control?
Today, electronics are germ collectors everywhere. Ghastly amounts of germs collect on cell phones, touchscreens and remotes. Healthcare environments' vital pathogens are not spread from patient to patient. Inquire about features such as anti-microbial paint coatings or if the screen and shell can hold up to rigorous, daily sanitation with healthcare-level cleaning solutions for years.
4. What are the configuration capabilities?
Hassling with technology is the worst. Before you purchase any new technology make sure you and your staff can manage the devices easily so you save time and money getting this initiative off the ground. Find out if the healthcare-grade TVs have USB-cloning that will allow your team to copy the TV settings with ease. Even better, ask if cloud-based, remote management is available so your staff can adjust settings without leaving the office or entering the patient room to make changes. Dive into how far the setting controls go. For example, you can look at programmable volume limiters - so you can control noise levels on certain floors and times.
6. Can the TV withstand whatever healthcare environments throw at it?
It is no secret that healthcare environments are unpredictable and high stress situations can occur there. While no piece of technology is bulletproof, search for a TV that is as tough as you can find as insurance for "off the wall" situations. For example, ask about the materials. If the device has cheap plastic components, it will likely shatter if it gets knocked off the wall. Ask if the device is liquid resistant. If fluid enters the device it could pose a risk to anyone who touches the device. Additionally, see if the TV is low voltage and if there is a grounding pin to guard against shocks or burns if there is an electrical current leak.
7. Is the hospital grade TV capable of integrating with the software you want to offer?
The TV is no longer simply a TV- it is a smart TV. Televisions everywhere are functioning more and more like computers than just broadcasting channels. This opens up a world of possibilities for healthcare providers to engage with patients in completely new ways. Interactive patient software made for platforms and apps now allow healthcare providers to deliver and gather valuable information with the patient during the entire course of their treatment. If you have an interactive patient system you wish to implement in your facility (or think you will implement one in the future) ensure the display has the technical ability to deliver the software and function well within your healthcare environment.
8. Is the healthcare display secure for the patient and the hospital?
With televisions functioning more like computers, the risks associated with computers must come into the equation. With cyber-security concerns on the rise and HIPAA compliance as utmost importance, you want to make sure the device is secure within your facility network and not compromise any patient or hospital data. Make sure to inquire about the security and privacy settings that are ready for use out-of-the-box on the device. Ask about how patient user profiles and passwords are created and stored and look for devices that are set up to make security as fool-proof as possible.
9. Does this device have endurance power?
A hospital TV is going to be playing much longer and without as many breaks as the typical TV at home. A good healthcare TV should run for at least 18 hours a day compared to 6 hours a day on consumer TVs. A well constructed healthcare TV will also not overheat easily. It should dissipate heat more effectively and operate at a lower temperature, 25˚C, compared to 60˚C of comparative consumer grade TVs.
10. Does the TV manufacturer offer a solid warranty and provide quality customer service?
You are making a significant investment to equip your facility with healthcare-grade televisions for patients. Ensure your investment is protected by researching the warranty the manufacturer offers and their process to deal with technical issues. Do they send a technician to you? Who covers the cost of shipping faulty product for repair? What does their repair/replacement procedure look like? Follow up by looking for company service reviews online or by asking to speak with another current customer to ensure the company follows through with their claims. It is far better to take time to see proof of quality service before the purchase is complete than to deal with the headache of bad service after installation.
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