Patient Entertainment Systems in Saskatoon’s three hospitals will be completely revamped over the next year, and the new versions will be capable of a lot more than providing access to television channels.

“The Region has been working with our vendor to replace the patient entertainment systems in our acute care sites,” explained Ken Unger, Manager of Finance with Saskatoon Health Region. “We will be getting rid of the old televisions and moving to bedside terminals with more capabilities. The terminals will be the TVs, and do a lot more.”

These new terminals (above left) will soon replace the old televisions (above right) in patient rooms in Saskatoon’s three hospitals.

These new terminals (above left) will soon replace the old televisions (above right) in patient rooms in Saskatoon’s three hospitals.

The current televisions, which are at the end of their life, are owned and supplied by Hospitality Network. Patients pay the Hospitality Network directly for the use of a television in their room.

Last year, with the contract with Hospitality Network reaching its end, the Region decided to look at more options for patient entertainment systems, because of the changes and advances in technology over the past few years.

The new terminals, which will also be supplied by Hospitality Network at no added cost to the Region, will be a vast improvement over the current televisions. Patients will notice that the TV is both bigger and better, it will have touch-screen capabilities, and there is the potential that eventually, other applications such as patient surveys and patient education will be available through the terminals.

Activation of the new terminals will all be done on the touch screens; no longer will patients have to wait for a Hospitality Network representative to visit their room to activate their television and phone.  A 1-800 number will also be offered for those wishing to activate their terminal that way.

Employees from Hospitality Network will be swapping out the sets at each hospital. Staff from the Region’s Capital Planning department will support the project from a planning and information technology infrastructure standpoint; the Region will not outlay any cash for the upgrade, as the equipment will be owned by the vendor.

It will be a huge task to get all of the equipment changed over and installed, not only to ensure the work doesn’t impact patients, as every patient room will need to have work done in it, but to ensure the hospitals are able to accommodate the new terminals.

“There is some IT back-end infrastructure work that needs to be done, as well as replacing the arms and installing the new bedside terminals,” Unger said. “The back end work will be completed first so that we are ready to install the equipment when it arrives.”

The replacement will begin at Saskatoon City Hospital this spring, then move to St. Paul’s Hospital in the fall, and finally, in the early winter, to Royal University Hospital. All patient rooms in Saskatoon’s hospitals should have the new terminals installed by early 2017.

Workshops will be held with staff, and additional communications will go out as each site is prepared for the equipment swap.