High-tech hospital room monitors mix movies, medical care


TVs in your hospital room are so yesterday.

In the near future, flat-screen terminals mounted on the wall or near your bedside may offer a lot more than entertainment. Patients will be able to surf the Internet, order their meals, communicate with nurses and view their latest X-rays — all through interactive patient care systems.

Educational videos on managing medical conditions, prescription orders and medical records all can be flashed on the same screen where patients view dozens of television channels and just-released movies.

“The nice thing is it really puts the patient in the driver’s seat,” said Gary Harper, a registered nurse specializing in information management and communication at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach, Fla., where 259 high-tech terminals should arrive by year’s end. “And it will help the nurses give even better care.”

West Palm Beach VA is one of six veterans hospitals in Florida that are scheduled to have systems installed in the next year, according to GetWellNetwork Inc., the Maryland technology company handling the project.

Hospital technology experts predict interactive systems, which have been around for more than a decade, will start taking off for one simple reason: They make patients happier. And that could make a big difference to a hospital’s bottom line.

Medicare now collects patient satisfaction data and cuts reimbursements for facilities performing poorly, said Nathan Larmore, a principle and practice leader at Sparling, a Seattle-based technology consulting firm advising the health care industry.

And using interactive tools to get patients more involved in their care also should reduce hospital readmissions, Larmore said, which is another factor affecting reimbursements.

“In the past, hospitals looked at bedside technologies that improved a patient’s experiences as luxuries. But once they were mandated to focus on patient satisfaction, there was renewed interest,” Larmore said. “Hospitals being built in the last eight years are starting to look more like hotels, which is the industry where some of this technology has come from.”

Larmore estimates about 10 percent to 15 percent of acute care hospitals nationwide currently have interactive patient terminals. Cost has been the reason many have held back, he said, as systems can run “several hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars” per room.

Many of the early adopters have been children’s hospitals, he said, “because kids focus on their environment and adapt to the technology.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow

Your house is a large expense with many associated costs like a mortgage payment, insurance, maintenance and more. It provides a roof over your head, of course, but since it usually costs you money each month, why not put it to work for you and earn some cash in the process? The following are four ways your house can make you money: If you're planning...
6 things to know about working for Uber
6 things to know about working for Uber

Uber has been making headlines in recent months for everything from a new CEO to industry regulation. But if you want to work as a driver for the service that revolutionized the taxi-transport industry, there is more important information about Uber you'll want to check out. Here are six things you need to know about Uber before working for them...
Hatch to Sherrod Brown: ‘Don’t spew this stuff at me’
Hatch to Sherrod Brown: ‘Don’t spew this stuff at me’

Sen. Sherrod Brown and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch are garnering attention today for a yelling match they had last night at a hearing over the tax reform bill working its way through the Senate. Hatch, a Utah Republican, took umbrage at comments by Brown saying the tax bill will help the rich at the expense of the poor. &ldquo...
Elder-Beerman parent company to close 40 stores
Elder-Beerman parent company to close 40 stores

Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the parent company of Elder-Beerman, will close at least 40 stores by the end of 2018. The retailer will shutter about a sixth of its 260 department stores, furniture galleries and clearance centers. The chain has Elder-Beerman stores at the Dayton Mall, Mall at Fairfield Common and several others at Dayton area locations...
Jeweler offering same-day delivery in Dayton, Cincinnati
Jeweler offering same-day delivery in Dayton, Cincinnati

James Free Jewelers is offering same-day delivery service in select areas throughout Southwest Ohio. The jewelry company has upgraded its website to offer customers the ability to schedule appointments with jewelry experts for private jewelry showings or via video. Customers can also now chat online with a James Free representative. “Imagine...
More Stories