You awake from a dream and survey your surroundings. You continue to blink rapidly, as your eyes adjust to the light in the room, and you try to regain some idea of where you are. You attempt to stand up but something restricts your movement. You look down to realize that you are tied to a large box beside your bed. As your thoughts finally start to come into focus, you realize where you are. You are not actually tied down, but leads from your chest connect you to a heart monitor. You pan left and right to find yourself in a stark sterile room. You grasp a remote also tethered to the bed, and as you fumble for the button that will surely call a much needed nurse, a large square TV hanging in the corner flickers to life. You pull the wires from your chest and disconnect the clamp you find on your finger as you sit up and ready yourself to go find someone to help. Alarms sound as the resident staff rushes in, flips on the fluorescent lights, and secures you once again, before interrogating you about where you were going. You were just going to get up and find a member of the staff, but now your little adventure has elicited a response reminiscent of a prison break.
From a reader’s perspective the example above may seem a little extreme, but from the patient’s perspective a hospital stay has in the past been akin to being held against your will in a foreign place.
Now of course the hospital didn’t design the experience this way to purposefully make their patients uncomfortable. The confinement resulted from the necessity to monitor the patient’s whereabouts and their vitals. The room was designed for medical function and utilized the best technology comforts it could when it was built several years back.
Today however, many hospitals are taking advantage of new technology that results in better patient experiences and outcomes. Patients instead become guests, and many of these guests are free to move about not only their modern and updated guest rooms, but also to freely move around the greater facility as well. The experience goes from hospitalization to something closer to a healthcare retreat. So how are these facilities going from hospitals to hospitality?
They address two major factors: Freedom and Comfort.
There is a whole new world of technology that frees patients from the bondage of hospitalization. First, traditional wired leads connecting patients to medical monitoring equipment are now being replaced with wireless sensors that can relay vitals wirelessly back to the nurse’s stations for proper supervision of patients and their condition. Second, combined with patient tracking systems, these same sensors can be used to locate a patient at any given time in case they need to be taken for another procedure or the doctor needs to speak with them about their test results.
People like what is familiar, and nothing is farther than home than a white on white box with a 10 year old CRT hanging in the corner playing bad syndicated reruns on a limited number of analog TV channels. The comforts of home go a long way to not only enhance the patient experience, but also to aid in the recovery of the patient as well. Creating guest rooms with a lighting system that can control not only the brightness but the color of the light can soften any sharp sterile edges. 42” flat panel TVs with the ability to connect personal devices and personalize entertainment and education content options are more reminiscent of the modern living room than yesterday’s hospital.
Depriving someone of their freedom and their comfort at the very time they have been deprived of their health, is a sure way to make them feel like a prisoner. In today’s world, cutting edge technology allows hospitals to monitor patients’ vitals and location without inhibiting their mobility and freedom, while providing all the comforts of home in the guest rooms as well. They are delivering superior care that restores freedom, enhances comfort, and leads the way to providing better care that focuses on the patient first.
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About Dan Nathan
Dan Nathan, President, TeleHealth Services. With more than 30 years of experience in the U.S. hospital market, Dan Nathan brings a unique blend of operations, sales, technical and marketing knowledge. In his current position, he contributes to Telerent’s corporate leadership team by overseeing the day-to-day operation and management of TeleHealth Services. Dan joined TeleHealth in June 1996 as VP of Operations. As the result of Mr. Nathan’s leadership, TeleHealth consistently outperformed earnings projections and the acquisition team’s initial expectations. In 1998, he was promoted to General Manager of TeleHealth, and led the company from $30 million in revenue (1998) to $84 million (2012), as well as growth in TeleHealth’s customer base to more than 35% of US hospitals. Prior to his employment with Telerent, Mr. Nathan spent thirteen years in both sales and operations with Wells National Services Corp. and Granada North America, Inc., both leading providers of healthcare patient entertainment, education, communication systems and related products and services. Mr. Nathan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois. You can Email Dan at email@example.com