Today’s “smart” televisions are more than just a way to catch up on news or watch the latest episode of “CSI.” Businesses and consumers use them to connect with mobile devices, cloud-based services as well as the outside world. And in hospitals, interactive patient entertainment systems help people beat boredom while becoming more engaged in their own healthcare.

The result: increased patient satisfaction, better health outcomes and decreased hospital readmissions.

Visual communications company TeleHealth Services has been providing hospitals with television services for decades, but those solutions have evolved in recent years with the introduction of healthcare TVs from Samsung.

Matthew K. Barker, vice president of marketing at TeleHealth, explains, “We utilize all the great technology Samsung puts into those televisions to help drive the overall patient experience — through patient satisfaction efforts, patient education curriculums and integration with the hospitals’ EMRs.”

So, how is interactive patient care changing the game for hospitals?

How It Works

By integrating smart TVs with interactive patient engagement technology and electronic medical records (EMRs), TeleHeath’s solution customizes the patient experience and puts key information where patients are most likely to see it — on the screens they’ll stare at for most of their hospital stay.

“At home, the average consumer has the TV on between six to eight hours a day,” Barker explains. “In the hospital, that number jumps to 11 to 13 hours, providing a great touch point for hospitals to engage patients in their care, and for hospitals to utilize a quality entertainment platform to differentiate their offerings from other local healthcare options.”

TeleHealth interfaces with a hospital’s EMR to customize the patient experience. Demographic and patient health data tells the system which language to display content in and what types of educational videos the patient should see. “We can also do a health assessment to establish the patient activation levels,” Barker says. “This tells us whether they’ll be seeking out information on their healthcare or whether we need to prompt them to learn more. Then we start delivering information on the patient’s condition, the procedures they’ll be having and any other relevant content.”

Care teams can also prescribe specific educational content to patients while they’re in the hospital and once they go home. “We provide hospitals, home health providers and ambulatory care centers with Samsung Galaxy tablets,” says Barker. “This way, at-risk patients can reference the materials they received in the hospital, have new educational content prescribed to them and stay connected to their healthcare providers.”

Five Key Benefits of Interactive Patient Entertainment Systems

TeleHealth customers report impressive results from this solution. For example, Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Hospital in Southern California, after partnering with TeleHealth, has reduced cardiac and pneumonia readmission rates by more than 12 percent, boosted hospital satisfaction ratings by around 12 percent and increased the number of patients who “understand their condition” by around 8 percent.

Meanwhile, at Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York City, patient education through video has increased by 93 percent, and patient satisfaction levels have increased by double digits year after year.

Barker attributes these results to:

1. Better entertainment options: Distractions help to alleviate the pain, discomfort and anxiety most hospital inpatients feel. “Smart functionality built into Samsung TVs allows us to offer Internet access as well as TV shows, movies, games, social media and relaxation programming,” says Barker.

2. Improved learning experience: Rather than handing patients educational packets to read, and never knowing if they actually read them, care providers can serve up video tutorials for disease management. “We live in a multimedia world,” says Barker. “There are several studies showing that video education is a more powerful education medium, especially with people under age 50, low-income demographics and those with lower education levels. In addition, the on-demand access allows the patient and caregivers to deliver the patient education at the optimal teachable moment.”

3. Increased patient retention and referrals: Barker says making televisions “the hub for everything” gives hospitals a key differentiator. “If you make a good impression on a mother having a child at your hospital, you’ve possibly got another 40 years of healthcare to provide at your facility.”

Satisfied patients are also more likely to refer others. At Elmhurst Hospital Center, the likelihood of a patient recommending the hospital increased 27 percent in less than 18 months after the solution was introduced.

4. Decreased hospital readmissions: The more engaged and educated hospital patients are, the better they manage their conditions from home. “This is better for patients’ long-term health and keeps hospitals from being penalized on CMS reimbursements for readmissions,” Barker remarks.

5. Improved communication via digital whiteboards: Hospitals can provide information about care providers, medications, patients’ daily schedules and anything else they need to know during their stay. As Barker notes, “Part of the scary thing about a hospital stay is the apprehension around what’s going to happen next. The digital whiteboard pulls data from the EMR and presents it on bedside television in a very simple user interface that puts patients at ease and lets them know exactly what’s happening.”

With smart TVs, hospitals can produce smarter patients, driving costs down and patient satisfaction scores up.

Learn more about Samsung healthcare solutions to increase patient engagement and reduce expenses.