Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, and Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust have all rolled out a new initiative where tablets pre-loaded with a basic set of calling and entertainment apps are loaned to patients free of charge.
These include video calling via Visionable:Connect, a secure video calling platform that patients, their families and friends can use without having to register or set up an account. Patients or those looking after them simply need to send an SMS or email message with a video call link to their loved ones; and can be in touch with them as soon as they click the link to join the call.
Matt O’Donovan, the founder and chief executive of WiFi SPARK explained that the initiative started when David Walliker, the chief digital and partnerships officer at Oxford University Hospitals contacted the company desperate to find a way for families to keep in touch during the lockdown imposed to control the spread of Covid-19.
WiFi SPARK was able to deliver a virtual visiting solution within a week, working with a number of technology providers. The partnership with Visionable was essential because many of the patients most in need of the solution do not have accounts with commercial collaboration platform providers; or may only be able to access them from phones with small screens that they find hard to use.
The Visionable:Connect app avoids these problems. O’Donovan said: "I have always been a passionate supporter of the NHS, so when WiFi SPARK was approached by Oxford University Hospitals with this problem I was determined that we should find a solution.
"I am delighted that we have been able to do that, and that we have been able to work with Visionable on a solution that makes it easy for patients to connect with their loved ones.
"One of the most heart-breaking knock-on effects of the current crisis is that hospitals no longer allow visitors and that, sometimes, people with Covid-19 are dying alone. So it is wonderful that so many NHS Trusts are now adopting a solution that goes at least some way towards addressing that."
Bruno Botelho, director of digital operations at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: "Patients in our hospital need to experience human connections with their friends and families. We're very grateful to WiFi SPARK and Visionable helping patients see their loved ones and share special moments at a very difficult time in their lives. We’d also like to thank the hospital charity CW+ and its generous donors for their support."
Visionable is making Visionable:Connect free for four months while the coronavirus outbreak continues. Alan Lowe, CEO, Visionable said: "We developed the Visionable mobile app so hospitals could offer virtual visiting to patients whose families and friends might be unable to visit them.
"As soon as we heard that the team at WiFi SPARK were working on the SPARK® Media: Unite product to address the particular needs of patients during the Covid-19 outbreak, we wanted to help; and we are delighted to be part of this initiative."
The full solution consists of Samsung tablets preloaded with the SPARK® Media platform, which gives patients access to a pre-defined list of video calling apps, games, and entertainment. The video calling apps include commercial offers, such as Skype and Hangouts, as well as Visionable:Connect.
There are also links to Hospital Radio, streaming media sites and the SPARK® Media Entertainment services, which includes access to digital magazines and newspapers.
Steve Killick, the product manager at WiFi SPARK lead the development of the SPARK® Media: Unite product, said: "The best alternative to physically being with loved ones is being able to see and hear them, so video calling was a must for this solution.
"Very quickly when I realised that patients weren’t able to have visitors I engaged with some of the best technology solutions available in the Healthcare tech sector to create SPARK® Media: Unite and it is fantastic that this has now been rolled out to seven Trusts across over 730 tablets. This solution is helping the NHS at a very challenging time."
Visionable has a unique collaboration platform that enables multiple users to share computer screens, audio and video feeds. Its multi-disciplinary and virtual clinic technology is also being used by the NHS in the crisis, to enable clinicians to collaborate and to schedule secure appointments with patients.
About VisionableVisionable is a healthcare technology company that provides a universal video collaboration platform for clinicians to deliver better patient care. Designed by founders who have worked within the NHS and who continue to partner closely with NHS clinicians, the platform has been built specifically to address the advanced technical needs found in healthcare. To achieve a truly ‘connected health’ system, Visionable makes it easy for everyone - from clinicians to whole organisations - to work together, ensuring patients’ access to the timeliest, best care possible.
About WiFi SPARKWiFi SPARK is the leading provider of guest and patient-access WiFi in the UK. The company is the owner and developer of the unique SPARK® Platform which delivers the most flexible, feature-rich and scalable solution for guest-access WiFi on the market today.
WiFi SPARK specialises in WiFi in the healthcare sector and provides services to over 50% of the NHS Acute Trusts. WiFi SPARK has recently launched SPARK® Media, a revolution in patient entertainment, delivering TV, radio, educational content and more directly to the patients’ device of their choice.
No other wireless network provider can offer the same adaptability, span of features, and ultimately, return on investment.