Waitemata District Health Board (DHB) and Vodafone have teamed-up to deliver a national first in improving the experience of hospital patients.
Ward 7 at North Shore Hospital has become the first ward in the country where every patient is provided with a bedside tablet device and free wifi as part of a trial addressing key items raised in patient feedback.
Waitemata DHB CEO Dr Dale Bramley says patients had consistently told the DHB when rating their hospital experience that the availability of wifi and better entertainment options would improve their patient journey.
“We have listened to patient feedback and worked with Vodafone to come up with a solution that addresses both points and the initial response from patients is very promising,” Dr Bramley says.
"Feedback from Ward 7 patients will be collected and evaluated over the next three to six months but, after only one week of operation, it’s already clear that this is proving a hit.
"So far, we have seen patients video-calling their family members from their hospital beds while others have been accessing foreign language apps to communicate better with nursing staff.
“We’ve also seen people using the bedside tablets to ensure their businesses keep running smoothly – paying bills, organising contractors and staying on top of work matters.
“The trial has given some patients the opportunity to use a device for the first time and they have quickly embraced the technology to keep up with the news of the day and with families and friends.
“Overall, the devices are already helping our patients keep connected with the outside world and this is a huge benefit to them in their recovery journeys and to those close to them."
Dr Bramley says Ward 7 has begun rolling-out 28 bedside tablet devices provided by Vodafone, supported by back-end technology developed by the telecommunications company.
Vodafone Enterprise Director, Ken Tunnicliffe says this collaboration with Waitemata DHB is another example of how staying connected can support patients in their recovery.
"This is a great example of how innovation and the application of advanced technology within the clinical and patient environment is helping to increase efficiencies in the healthcare sector and enhance the patient’s experience," he adds.
"As well as programming a range of entertainment and media applications, we have also put patient privacy at the heart of this innovation by incorporating a reset function so nurses can easily wipe the device and prepare it for the next patient to use.
Tunnicliffe says a decision on whether to ultimately extend the rollout across all wards at North Shore and Waitakere hospitals will be based on evaluation of the trial.