WiFi Spark acquires Hospedia and plans free viewing night terminals


WiFi Spark will take over the management of Hospedia, a company that supplies night terminals to three-quarters of UK acute care hospitals.

The acquisition of Hospedia by WiFi Spark makes the latter move away from the current systems in which patients pay to receive entertainment and call facilities. Instead, WiFi Spark will offer the option to install new software on the terminals that will allow patients free access to their SPARK Media entertainment package.

In addition, a new update will allow staff to use the terminals to access trusted computer systems.

The cost of the upgrade will be borne by NHS trusts, health boards and their charities, and WiFi Spark hopes they will be happy to cover the costs in exchange for a better patient experience and get the doctor’s access to terminals.

If they decide, trusts can choose to stick with the current “pay the patient” model. However, the company estimates that most trusts will pay less than £ 1 per bed per day for the upgrade. And patients will still have the option to pay for additional movie services at the upgraded terminals if they wish.

Matt O’Donovan, founder and CEO of WiFi Spark, says, “This provision will maximize trust, because overnight terminals will become a suitable asset, providing benefits for both patients and physicians.

“That patients can watch television and have access to other entertainment options in these units, free of charge, will be a real boost to their morale and recovery. And for the hospital staff, being able to use them for clinical purposes will facilitate the fulfillment of the tasks ”.

The SPARK Media platform includes television, radio, movies, games, hospital radio, newspapers, magazines and outgoing calls. It also allows trusts to add their own therapy video packages, brochures, meal orders and patient information.

The ability of physicians to also use terminals will make it easier for staff to use IT next to a patient’s bed. Leveraging existing infrastructure in this way will help foster digital maturity in the most effective way possible.

O’Donovan believes the move will be transformative for the NHS.

“The units will become the health care iPhone,” he said.

“They will provide patients with a unified experience to engage and entertain them, while linking patients and physicians to real-time, bedside patient registration. The SPARK Media platform will support third-party applications, enabling the experience more updated for both patients and doctors “.

WiFi Spark has previously given its services for free. Finished Christmas 2020 patients were able to access SPARK Media at no additional cost where their WiFi services were already installed. And at the height of the pandemic, WiFi Spark technology helped connect patients with loved ones, when their calling and entertainment apps were pre-loaded on tablets and lent to patients in seven trusts.

The gradual deployment of the new operating model is expected to take about three years. Boards of trustees and health boards will participate in the transition in accordance with their funding program.

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