Currently 64% of NHS Trusts, don’t offer free Wi-Fi to their patients, though could a small investment go towards improving your patient’s experience?
Free Wi-Fi is currently available almost everywhere else but within (a majority of) the NHS, with security being cited as one of the main reasons, in addition to costs. Though if restaurants, public houses, hotels and the like are able to accommodate the general public and their appetite for Wi-Fi, surely the healthcare sector are missing a trick?
Existing access to Wi-Fi within hospitals has been via mobile units, though expensive fees have rendered them unpopular with patients. Free Wi-Fi on the other hand could provide not only a means by which patients can keep up to date with the outside world, but it could also help to alleviate the stress and upset that can sometimes be attached to a lengthy hospital stay or visit to a local practitioner.
Not only could patients utilise the service but also staff. It has been widely reported how pressurised a job within the NHS can be. At break times staff could also use the Wi-Fi for recreational purposes, an opportunity to unwind and take a mental break, surely a plus point in reducing staff attrition and increasing staff morale.
The arguments ‘for’ could also be supported by the patient’s ability to ‘check in’ without the need to stand in line until reception staff are available, reducing waiting times and reducing the workload upon the practice/hospital staff. As could repeat prescriptions and appointment cancellation. All could be managed via a portal, access to which is made via the availability of Wi-Fi.
So can the cost and security constraints be justified? Perhaps not. Protecting any network when open to public use can be achieved with a simple sentry device, alleviating any misuse and subsequent actions. Costs can be kept to a minimum by choosing a reputable supplier who has a proven track record within the field of IT & Communications, and can offer a bespoke solution adapted specifically to the Healthcare sector.
Substantial medical advances have been made in recent years, yet technological advances don’t seem to have followed the same trend. The subject of free Wi-Fi must be explored and the real benefits recognised, before patients, well, lose patience!
Written by Katherine Johnson