The Patient Entertainment System – a luxury or a mandatory?

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Interactive TV systems turn a healthcare TV into a powerful information and marketing tool.  Fully customisable and remotely managed, well-designed systems elevate the patient experience and enhance a property’s operational efficiency.  

As technology advances, so does the list of embedded functionalities.  IP based solutions offer extra features such as catch-up TV services and smart apps, and PMS software automates property operations, integrates IT systems and enables two-way communication between the guest and hospital or care home.

Systems come in all shapes and sizes and cater just as well for a small, independent care home as a large NHS trust.  Features can be categorised into five key headings:


The principal function of the interactive TV system is the communication of information.  At a basic level, this takes the form of a branded welcome screenimages, video and a series of information pages detailing menus, hospital maps, local services etc. 

Features such as traffic reports, weather conditions and RSS feeds offer added functionality and a richer experience – likely to be of use to the majority of patients.

Messages can be sent to TVs detailing special offers, fire alarm times etc and IP systems allow information to be sent to individual rooms – this is a great feature for properties looking for the personal touch and often used to welcome a patient, by name, to a property.

Welcome screen – Intelligent wake-up alarm – Property services & facilities – Menus – Local weather conditions – Local traffic reporting – Patient messaging – RSS feeds – Viewbill


As viewing habits change in line with evolving technology, so does the number of ways a patient can watch content on a TV; interactive systems provide a platform to support different technologies on a single interface.

All systems should support a clearly labelled “watch TV” button, enabling quick and easy viewing.  Electronic programme guides can be incorporated alongside customer channel lists – particularly useful when grouping channels by language or genre.

IP systems support catch-up services such as iPlayer and ITV Hub, thus catering for the 8 in 10 UK adults (40 million people) that regularly watch catch-up TV.  These can be embedded on the TV or accessed through a patient’s own device via Chromecast or a screen mirroring service – alongside popular streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube.

Electronic Programme Guide – Catch-up services – Streaming services – Customise channel groups – Screen mirroring and casting – Video on Demand


Operational efficiencies afforded by an interactive system are plentiful, enabling a property to streamline costs & processes whilst providing a better, quicker service.

At the most basic level, systems allow a property to remove printed in-room directories, providing all salient information on the TV screen.

Examples of more intelligent efficiencies include room management features such as room ready notifications (enabling cleaners to flag prepared rooms) and patient departure, allowing, for example, the expedited cleaning of rooms and preparation of beds.

For properties with an eye for detail and a desire to improve productivity, Otrum’s Enterprise system allows the reporting of issues, and communication between staff – this can be done via the TV or even an alternative device such as a tablet or smartphone. 

PMS integration – Room ready notifications – Remote management & monitoring – Maintenance reporting tool – Automated e-mail and SMS alerts for staff – Cloud based operation


Interactive systems can be a powerful revenue generator, providing long-term return-on-investment and an enhanced service for patients.

Popular examples include the construction of online ‘storefronts’ allowing patients to order and pay for services. Special offers can be sent to TVs and can be tailored and pushed to individual rooms or sent to every TV.

Local service advertising (taxi firms, restaurants, local attractions etc) present further ongoing revenue opportunities.

Upsell – Branding – Video-on-demand/Pay TV – Special offers – In-room purchasing – Local service advertising


Statistics applications provide insight into how patients consume in-room technology, for example, how are they spending their money?  what channels are being watched?  how many click-throughs does each advert receive?  what are the most popular pay TV movies? Collected data is accessed via the cloud and can be used to position services accordingly. Analysis tools are particularly useful when used across a group of properties and can be used to identify location or demographic based statistics.

What makes a good system?

Each individual system will depend on the user’s requirements – and can be very basic (featuring one branded welcome screen) or powerful. However, each system must share the same common characteristics and be intuitive and quick to operate.

It may seem obvious, but a user should be able to turn a television on and watch TV with a simple button click – avoiding unnecessary navigation, menus and ‘hanging.’ All other features should be easily accessible and again, able to navigate back to the channel with a click of a button.

How can Airwave Healthcare help?

Airwave’s team of content engineers are experts in the design and deployment of all leading patient entertainment systems including: Otrum Enterprise & CTRL, AirMedia, Samsung REACH, Philips CMND and LG Pro:Centric. Equally proficient in RF, IP and DOCSIS systems, all the bases are covered!

Click the link for further details or get in touch to chat technology: or 01403 783 483

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