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How a Bedside TV Creates an Alternative Patient Experience

Part 3 of "Different Angles of Patient Engagement" Blog Series 

Previously, we discussed the experience of a large-screen footwall patient TV and considered the user experience of a hand held tablet, here we will look at placing an interactive patient tv at the bedside.

An alternative path to improve patient engagement and satisfaction is to mount a smaller smart, touch screen television on an arm close to the bedside for the patient. This approach successfully bridges the interaction gap created by footwall TVs and it solves some of the issues associated with consumer tablet risks.

A myth about arm-mounted TVs is the viewing experience on a 14” screen mounted on an arm isn’t as good as a 42” screen. Bigger is better right? In fact, the opposite is true. Mathematically speaking, a 14” screen within arm's reach of the patient is equal to a 90” screen viewing experience across the room. Such a screen size is undoubtedly impractical to match in a hospital room, but not on a bedside display. The only downside is guests visiting the patient may not have a great view of the screen as the environment is designed personally for the patient and not a cinematic experience. However, a well designed room can allow for flexibility from bedside to guest chair if the designer anticipates this.

Another advantage of a bedside TV is it reduces risks in significant ways. The touch screen device is continuously charged so the patients and staff never need to worry about batteries or charging the device. The device is securely mounted so it cannot be damaged and deters theft. Additionally, the arm-mounted set can reduce risks of infections as the permanently installed device is cleaned as part of the housekeeping workflow and many healthcare manufacturers of this type of TV use antimicrobial powder-coating and plastics.

Being able to use touch navigation is an obvious and natural way for patients to adopt and use their patient portal and access a patient view of their Electronic Health Records (EHRs.) This can give the patient a sense of personal ownership with their device and with access to their healthcare information it will promote patients to become actively involved in their care.

The negative aspects that relate to a personal arm mounted tv come down to cost and patient room design. The cost of a footwall TV is distinctly lower because the purchaser now must buy the hardware to mount an arm and TV instead of just a TV. But if one measures usage return on investment, the benefits outweigh the cost.

The other roadblock comes from the space available in the patient room to set up such a system. Generally, an arm-mounted TV would be attached at the head wall. Of course, it varies on the type of patient room setting, but medical equipment is often placed there as well. The concern is raised that the TV system may get in the way of nurses and doctors giving the patient care in critical conditions. This is something the designer of the patient room will want to consider as they plan. 

The heart of the matter is to consider how to deliver the interactive patient system in a personal way to improve the patients overall experience. 

There are obviously many factors to consider when selecting a patient engagement system and how the experience is delivered. It would be unwise to select a one-size-fits-all solution for the entirety of a facility. It is best to approach the project with the question, “What application provides the most value to the patient and which solution will be the easiest to get patients engaged?”

The goal to strive for is to find the most personal approach to naturally foster usage by the patient.  By recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of every delivery mechanism on the market, healthcare providers can prescribe and deliver interactive patient systems and create the best environment to entertain and educate the patient as they heal.

What are some other positive or negative aspects of bedside patient tvs?  Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Innovation Patient Experience
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