Hospitals and other healthcare organisations will find many benefits associated with becoming ‘smarter’.

Smart hospitals use technology to improve service delivery, provide a better patient experience and automate tasks that burden staff time. One of the ways that hospitals can adopt smarter technology is by becoming interactive. When we reference an ‘interactive hospital’, we’re referring to a hospital where patients, carers and visitors have the means to digitally interact with their physical surroundings, such as signs, chairs, parking meters, to receive information and share feedback on their care experience.

In this blog, we’re going to explore some of the benefits that healthcare organisations can reap from becoming interactive and adopting a smarter approach to patient engagement.

Save staff / nurse time and reduce costs

Digital engagement helps to free up staff time. In a time when the NHS finds itself understaffed, this benefit allows nurses to spend more time supporting patients and providing vital care.

When working with Royal United Hospital (RUH) Bath, the hospital identified that nurses were spending a disproportionate amount of time assisting patients with completing the Friends & Family Test survey. Because of this, freeing up staff time by automating the delivery and assistance of the survey became a key project goal.

Annually, the Friends & Family Test receives in the region of 14 million responses nationwide. So far, Hello Lamp Post has saved Royal United Hospital Bath 300 hours of staff time per department, per annum by automating this service. Hello Lamp Post has been active across four outpatient departments – Urgent Care, Orthopaedic Outpatient, Ear, Nose & Throat Patients and Audiology Outpatients – equating to up to 1,200 hours each year. Just imagine the impact on staff time that nationwide automation could have.

Studies have revealed that the cost of collecting feedback via more traditional methods outweighs the opportunity to use the responses to drive improvement in service delivery. This is why it’s so important that while we’re saving staff time, this comes with a reduction in any costs associated with patient engagement, such as gathering feedback and manually inputting data. By automating the Friends & Family Test through Hello Lamp Post, RUH Bath is saving an estimated £11 per hour on staff time.

Increase the quantity and quality of feedback

You might be wondering if automating the Friends & Family Test decreases the rate of patient feedback in any way. Let us dispel these concerns. Since we started working with RUH Bath, the hospital has experienced an increase in feedback from 2% to 70%, including feedback from patients, visitors, carers and relatives.

From the feedback, the hospital has been able to gather more detailed insights. For example, in the Orthopaedic Outpatient department, 58% of respondents said that their experience was ‘good’ and 5% said there were areas for improvement. Patients have also provided feedback on things like getting more comfortable chairs and sharing estimated waiting times.

Improved Patient Experience

Why is it important to get patient engagement right?

Patient engagement has been linked to enhanced service delivery and higher patient satisfaction. And with public satisfaction with the NHS falling to 36% in 2021, there’s never been a better time to start engaging patients in healthcare decision-making and service delivery.

By engaging patients throughout their care experience, healthcare providers can better understand the things that are most important to the people they care for, resulting in more accurate spending decisions and improved service delivery.

As we’ve explored, healthcare providers can benefit from engagement technology in a number of ways. Here are just some of the ways that Hello Lamp Post supports healthcare organisations with service delivery:

  • Patient and carer feedback tool
  • Public FAQ answering
  • Way-finding

If you’re interested in discovering more about our work in the healthcare sector, check out our webinar ‘Who really cares? Transforming digital health and wellbeing services’ with Jo Miller, Chief Nursing Information Officer at RUH Bath and Stephen Penman, Head of Strategic Communication at North Lanarkshire Council. 

Or if you’d like to speak to a member of our friendly team, contact us here.