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Hibox Blog

IPTV in Healthcare Industry

  • By Danny I. Shaw, VP Global Sales
    12th January 2016
  • Patient using Healthcare IPTV Solution

    Quality of patient care and using IPTV technology for more than just watching TV. We’ve all used some form of IPTV at home, either from our Comcast-type provider or from our subscriptions like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Now imagine using the same technology to deliver hospital services directly to the patient bed, including the same entertainment we have at home. Our time in the hospital is usually not pleasant, unless you go to one of those spa hospitals in Spain to get “rejuvenated”. Now hospitals are creating a patient experience that can mirror how we get information and entertainment at home. Each bed can now have your own customized content using your own subscriptions while the TV can also provide your personalized schedule, hospital information, and even training programs to help you when you are discharged. Hospitals are under big pressure to provide excellent medical service for the patients while keeping costs within annual budgets. With modern IPTV software-based entertainment and information system, hospitals are able to decrease operational costs, improve staff efficiency and still increase patient satisfaction. In this blog, I’ll try to present some of the key issues for the healthcare industry and how an IPTV and information system can help in solving ever evolving requirements.

    It’s all about the patients

    Keeping patients informed is an important task for every hospital. Providing accurate and clear information about their treatment and educating them about their illness, makes patients feel comfortable and secure. Therefore, an IPTV system can present clear and on-time information about patient medical conditions or next steps in the treatment process. In addition, using the TV allows patients to read general information and get a better understanding in the treatment process and nature of the disease. An Important requirement for the IPTV system is multi-language support in the user interface on the TV. Another key requirement is to be able to dynamically change information that’s important to each patient. In fact, the flexibility of the IPTV system allows for quick changes in other area like information pages, Electronic Program Guide, and in hospital digital signage. And some patients just want to push a button and watch TV. An IPTV system enables watching Linear TV, On Demand or Catch Up TV content. Patients can have instant entertainment and not miss their favorite shows while in the hospital. Patients can even stream their own video content from a USB stick or mobile device directly to the hospital Smart TV. In addition, using social apps on the hospital TV allows patients to stay in touch with their friends and family. Another step in improving medical services for the patients is to provide them a bit more personalized service with information on their daily medical team and doctor or head nurse on duty with pictures and contact information directly on the TV set. Medical personnel can even send notification messages on the TV. In addition, patients can easily order some services like cup of water or call a nurse directly from the TV set.

    Benefits for the hospital

    Existing TV systems in hospitals are usually traditional cable TV systems based on the coax infrastructure. It requires more space and power, is hard to troubleshoot, and not customizable to each patient. With the IP based TV system, an IT team will benefit from a SW based solution and virtualization support. An IPTV systems requires a small number of servers thereby taking less space and decreasing the power consumption. In addition an IPTV system is much easier to maintain. The system can serve several locations from the central node enabling centralized administration and troubleshooting and reducing the number of required data centers. Video delivery is done from one location and can be easily proactively monitored to guarantee a stable TV service. All Smart TV and STB devices are controlled from the central location, avoiding the need to go in the room for maintenance. Another important point from the hospital perspective is saving time of the personnel and making their work more efficient. For instance, when a patient calls for nurse with an IPTV system available, the patient can identify the type of call (needs water, pain, or having a problem).

    Hospital specific requirements

    The healthcare industry requires several specific features for compliance and not every IPTV product is able to support them. The equipment should be interference free, they should be ecofriendly, and the should be easily cleaned. In a hospital environment it is even more important to have a standard based system with clear focus on the patients and hospital benefits, for instance, the remote controls must be shock resistant and designed for disinfection. Additionally, the IPTV system must have a flexible architecture to easily integrate with any hospital information system. The Healthcare industry is a specific environment with many specific requirements with a clear focus on patient satisfaction. In case of new constructions or performing infrastructure changes, it definitely makes sense to consider an IPTV system for the hospital.

    Danny I. Shaw, VP Global Sales, Hibox Systems