New interactive platform—installed safely during the pandemic—puts patients in control of their entertainment and health education while helping deliver personalized care.
Tradition has dictated that when patients embark on a hospital stay, their only source of entertainment has been flipping channels offering little more than local news and sit-com reruns. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which severely limited visitation privileges, only exacerbated their options. Yet late last year, NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens began delivering a personalized welcome message and easy, interactive access to information and services on patients’ TV sets at its facility in Jamaica, New York.
“When I came to NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens and toured the facility, one of the first things that caught my attention were the LG smart TVs available to all patients,” said the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Neil J. Moore, MBA, MPA, FACHE, who began his tenure at Queens in mid-February. “A sophisticated system like this tells people who come in that we’re a hospital of choice, with top technology for improving patient experience. The fact that we can customize it for exactly the information we want to share is simply amazing.”
“We took on a challenge that is now bearing tangible results,” the Queens hospital’s interim CEO Dean Mihaltses said of the project that began three years earlier. “What started as an upgrade of our TV service turned into much more. Now we can offer patients important education, too, and continually enhance their comfort and overall hospital experience through new technology.”
When NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens began its journey, it had been taking an analog, low-def satellite TV feed and distributing it to old-fashioned CRT TV sets in patient rooms. Today, the hospital has a network of about 250 high-definition smart TVs from LG Business Solutions USA, integrated to communicate over the facility’s existing coaxial cable infrastructure and running TigrPX patient-engagement software designed and implemented by healthcare TV solutions provider TeleHealth Services.
“It’s gratifying now to walk by a patient’s room, see the HD content, and realize it’s a truly engaging experience for them,” said Greg Mahabee, Manager of Special Projects, Department of External Affairs. “We knew if we could create a quality platform that’s easy to use and puts patients in control, they’d be more comfortable. And what works here in Queens can eventually be used across our entire hospital system.”
The NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens solution is built around the latest UL-hospital-listed LG 32-inch Pro:Centric health care TVs (model 32LT662M), designed to work with most pillow speakers, including with the hospital’s new Curbell Medical models supplied by TeleHealth Services, and run TeleHealth’s TigrPX system using their built-in LG webOS software.
“A hospital room TV is usually the center point of a patient’s experience,” said Tom Mottlau, Director of Healthcare and Emerging Markets, LG Business Solutions USA. “LG hospital TVs, combined with innovative software from our trusted solution providers, including TeleHealth Services, create a truly interactive portal to entertainment, information, education and more.”
NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens adopted 32-inch flat-panels HDTVs based on room dimensions to help patients clearly and comfortably see everything on-screen. The team at TeleHealth Services integrated RF distribution technology with all the TVs so they could receive not only entertainment channels from the new Spectrum TV cable head-end, but also the digital education and information content delivered through TigrPX over the hospital’s network.
“We recommended the LG TVs because they’re designed especially for healthcare and are ideally suited for running our interactive platform without any extra media devices,” explained Demetrious (Jim) Stratos, TeleHealth Outcomes Manager overseeing the NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens rollout. “Our system runs on the hospital’s data backbone then jumps off, if you will, and makes that last stretch to the in-room TVs over coaxial cable. So, we didn’t have to run wires or open ceilings and we could install the system safely, under challenging circumstances, without disrupting patient care.”
The new pillow speakers enable the patients to operate the LG hospital TVs and TigrPX system. TeleHealth Services programmed an intuitive, tiled home screen giving users access to TV content, hospital information (such as pharmacy hours, locations and more), a set of programmable preferences and a catalog of patient education. The TigrPX system interfaces with the hospital’s ADT system (admission, discharge, and transfer) system to identify who is in each room, and they communicate back and forth with nurses’ station computers so staff can assign appropriate content to each patient and monitor whether they watch it. When the system launched in October 2020, TeleHealth had built a library of about 250 education videos in English and Spanish, as well as with closed captions. Today, the content library has doubled.
“One of the best things is that the system is flexible and allows us to produce our own videos,” said Marzya Sdrewski, Associate Executive Director of Operations at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens. The hospital’s content library already includes important patient information about COVID-19, for example. “Previously, there would be lots of information to give patients just as they were leaving the hospital,” Sdrewski continued. “Now, with the new interactive TV system, we have a chance to start educating them much earlier. We can schedule videos based on their prognosis, including content that helps reinforce prescribed treatment or medications they should be taking. There are even videos to help them relax.”
The nursing staff has embraced the LG hospital TVs and TigrPX system because the solution helps them deliver personalized care to more patients. The hospital’s patient satisfaction scores have already started to improve, and early indications are that patients enjoy and use the system, so nurses know people are getting the health education they need. Ultimately, nurses may spend more time treating patients and less time going over important information since the patients are now able to use the LG/TigrPX solution to watch and comprehend the material.
“With COVID, going into certain patient rooms can take extra time. We have to gown up and put on PPE, if necessary,” said Sherley Gebara, Associate Director of Nursing at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens. “The new system helps us improve our workflow and enhance the care we give patients.”
Looking ahead, NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens is planning further enhancements with its LG-based TigrPX solution. Plans are underway to integrate it with the hospital’s electronic medical records system, enable patients to request services via the interactive TVs, and expand the education library to include videos in more languages. The hospital also plans to install LG TVs in more care spaces, including its ambulatory surgery unit, cancer center, post-anesthesia care unit and other locations.
“The LG hospital TVs and TeleHealth TigrPX solution give our patients different ways to educate themselves without nurses handing them a whole bunch of information,” said Sdrewski. “Some are visual learners; some are auditory learners. I’m looking forward to after COVID when more patients can sit with family members and watch videos together and ask pointed questions about their care.”
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