Infotainment is a rapidly spreading concept across the digital landscape – combining information and attractive content with the goal of providing entertainment hand–in–hand with data that is of value to the viewer.
This idea is evident in the healthcare industry. Waiting rooms play informational content on a loop, hoping patients will absorb data that could help improve their care and their compliance with treatment plans. A new take on this avenue of patient education is patient-side computing, a more personalized way to gain exposure to beneficial knowledge.
Research and experimentation that examines patient-side computing setups in healthcare environments can track levels of positive engagement, and devise new ways to deliver data in a user-friendly format. The gradual shift in focus is away from the typical ceiling mount television and restricted cable network providing a comforting drone of syndicated entertainment and towards a more interactive patient experience with Medical Cart Computers that track patient care, capture data, and can also be used to provide information as well as entertainment to captive audiences.
This information dissemination pattern has been successfully implemented in other verticals. Hotels and restaurants provide tablet computers in the room or on the table, allowing users to order and pay outstanding bills, and these tablets also often offer the option for more entertaining types of interacting by way of apps or games, either free or paid, allowing users to entertain themselves. In many cases, for example the tourism related businesses, information about local attractions can be fed alongside fun facts about the area, or quizzes can be used to pique interest.
When utilizing digital devices in a healthcare setting, the issue of security and privacy is a priority. Patient-side computing can be regulated by strict accessibility parameters – infotainment options segmented form patient data, and key card access required for sensitive data or tools. This allows for one device to have multiple functions, and reduces the number of computers required for each room.
The benefits of infotainment and patient computing options is proven to enhance patient stays in healthcare facilities, encouraging patient interaction and increasing satisfaction as well as ultimate outcomes. When patients can receive valuable data about their condition, communicate with hospital staff, enjoy various forms of entertainment, and even interact in a limited way with the main system (such as ordering food from the cafeteria), their experience is positively enhanced.
The psychological aspect of recovery is bolstered by allowing the patients to feel like they are in charge of their recovery, and can reduce readmission rates, leading to savings for the facility and higher grades for patient care. Infotainment is shaping up to be the next huge step forward in the realm of patient-side care.