Increasingly, patients are being asked to become more informed and engaged with their care, and to take some of the burden off of the system by taking greater control, for instance by ordering repeat prescriptions online or learning from other patients like them. By contrast, sit in a waiting room, hospital ward, or even a staff breakroom, and you're cut off from the wider digital world of medical information, communication, and consumer choice. Free NHS WiFi could be a simple solution for many.
We will increasingly need WiFi for so much of our everyday lives. Not providing WiFi will be like denying people access to the loo!
Today if an inventor wanted to develop a new software product for patients in hospitals, it is all but impossible for them to make their product available, because so many NHS facilities are in mobile black-spots and the most vulnerable patients may have smartphones but not credit or a data-plan. Free WiFi could help keep bored patients (and their children!) entertained, develop translation services that wouldn't burden the NHS, and perhaps relieve some of the social isolation of being a patient
One of the basic rights of all patients should be an ability to enagage with family and friends when in hospital. Often this can only be done remotely and therefore it is vital that free wifi is given automatically and without charge to patients.
This would enable patients when at their most vulnerable to feel connected. Could develop hospital apps build on the work of hospital radio patients would feel less isolated. Consider encourage free wifi i. exchange for measurement of care at patients bedside throughout the patients stay.
Where ever there is free wifi offered, there will be those who want to abuse it. As in coffee shops where "writers" sit for hours on end using the free wifi, drinking 1 coffee, there is a risk that if hospitals offer free wifi, you will find "patients" in ED using the free wifi. A possible upside is that having longer waiting times will not be as critisied with everyone checking their FB status or snapchating pics of the queues.
Visit a hospital ward these days and you'll see the facilities for patients to be entertained during their stay or communicate with the outside world are very limited. Some hospitals have wheeled media units that charge patients high rates, require maintenance, and take up crucial space in the hospital, taking additional funds off of patients at their most vulnerable. By charging for communication with loved ones, hospitals effectively disincentivize social care and support from family & friends
If you want to bring almost *any* change to the NHS you've got to get people onboard. The doctors, the nurses, the DoH, NHSE, the media, caregivers, patient groups, etc. That's why innovative ideas are so often squashed or fail to thrive in the NHS. While there are some costs involved, sometimes executing a simple plan that people are behind is a lot less costly in terms of consultants, public consultations, and multitudes of meetings.
If public areas have access to the net and good mobile connectivity patients, carers and staff will congregate in them to use it. People using computers and mobile phones in wards can be very disturbing. However, the same can be said of television and normal pay-phones, so this needs proper debate and tailoring to the individual hospital and ward.
Charities and other organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Support, produce a lot of information material for patients and carers, virtually all of which is also available online where it is easier to search for specific relevant information. While some people will prefer hard copies, providing and encouraging internet access in health settings could also help save some space, time and money for the NHS and partner organisations.
Not against free wifi in hospitals, but not a massive priority. People generally have 3g on phones for basic tasks. Wifi is a sympton of a culture that is built around waiting, and that is a much more critical thing to tackle than adding another distraction - magazines, dedicated TV channels etc.. Secondly, hospitals are not secure place, as an inpatient I never take my mobile. Had stuff stolen before. If we want people using tech in hospital provide proper secure storage.
Hospital is a place to either have surgery or rest,wifi would cause chaos,in rooms,often shared by 2 people and disturb the equipments.
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This content is created by the open source Your Priorities citizen engagement platform designed by the non profit Citizens Foundation