Hospitals are not hotels. But as modern medical centers begin using digital technology to entertain and educate patients, the lines between healthcare and hospitality are getting blurry.

Delivering quality patient care is always top priority for hospitals, but how they do so is changing quickly now that Medicare reimbursements are tied to both patient satisfaction and readmission rates. Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals with low HCAHPS scores can lose up to 1 percent of payments for all Medicare patients, and an additional 3 percent for excessive hospital readmissions.

To keep patients happy in the hospital and healthy at home, leading hospitals are providing an interactive patient experience and robust video education via the devices patients already love and know how to use. For example, SONIFI Health brings more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry to a hospital setting. Using Samsung healthcare TVs and tablets, SONIFI delivers interactive information and entertainment, which helps to reduce patients’ anxiety and make them feel more at home. As a result, patients are more likely to engage with educational materials and have meaningful conversations with their care teams. This leads to a satisfying inpatient experience and positive patient outcomes when they get back home.

Jamey Christensen, senior vice president of sales and marketing at SONIFI Health, says this technology delivers several positive patient outcomes.

Streamlined Communication Between Patients and Staff

Using the bedside TV and/or tablet, patients can view their schedules and care team profiles, send real-time feedback, complete surveys, order meals, report their pain levels and more.

“Many of the HCAHPS measures are specifically around communication with care providers, so this certainly helps,” says Christensen. “The system also includes the ability to make a request or provide feedback, which can improve other measures. For instance, if the room isn’t clean or the patient is in pain, the patient can submit requests, which are routed to the appropriate staff so they can tackle the problem sooner.”

Automated and Personalized Patient Education

SONIFI’s platform pulls patient data directly from the hospital’s EHR, so patients can view educational videos based on their specific diagnoses and care plans. As they learn more about their conditions, they become more engaged in their healthcare.

“One of the toughest challenges is getting people to sit down and educate themselves on their illnesses,” says Christensen. “Because patient education happens through the TV, there can be scrolling screens that say, ‘You have three videos left. Please watch these by XYZ time frame.’ Some facilities even require patients to view educational content before they can get to the entertainment.”

With paper-based educational materials, nurses only know whether patients have received the information. With SONIFI’s video content, nurses know if patients have actually viewed the content and if they understood it.

“Hospitals can include a survey at the end of each video to gauge patient comprehension. When surveys indicate comprehension is low, nurses receive alerts and know they need to review the information.”

Distraction From Pain and Anxiety

SONIFI offers a variety of entertainment options, including DirecTV, movies, games, relaxation therapies, spiritual content, white noise and more.

“These help distract patients from pain and anxiety, which helps the time spent healing feel like it’s passing more quickly,” says Christensen.

SONIFI also helps simulate the experience patients would have at home. “For example, SONIFI lets patients cast content from their mobile devices like Netflix and Hulu to the patient room television.”

Control Panel for Smart Room Functionality

SONIFI can also tap into other existing hospital systems, such as HVAC, to let patients adjust room temperature and smart controls for lights and blinds.

“This becomes a big deal for patient safety,” says Christensen. “Patients don’t have to get out of bed as often, so the fall risk goes way down.”

Interactive Experience via Tablets

SONIFI has recently begun integrating Samsung Galaxy tablets into its healthcare system, offering hospital patients a wider range of entertainment experiences.

“Adding the tablet brings more interactivity to the patient experience,” says Christensen. “One of the biggest benefits is live casting. So think of two kids in the cancer hospital. They’re in different rooms, but they can both cast a game from the tablet onto the TV and play together.”

Hospitals exist to treat sick people, not make them feel like they’re on vacation. But as patient satisfaction and long-term wellness become increasingly important, entertainment and education aren’t just amenities. They’re ways to enhance patient care.

Samsung Galaxy tablets, combined with technology from AccendoWave, are also being used to help patients manage pain. Find out here how this technology has improved the patient experience at Southern Hills hospital.