University Hospital Antwerp

Patient care extends beyond the hospital at UZA

Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) is one of the leading hospitals in Belgium, renowned for high quality patient care and treating over 180,000 patients each year. The hospital employs more than 2,800 staff who are engaged in ground-breaking scientific research and high-quality academic teaching and learning as well as top level healthcare.

UZA is located on a large area in Antwerp and includes around 40 separate medical divisions, 570 patient beds, a patient ‘care’ hotel and a variety of public areas; a very diverse environment with a number of unique requirements.

One of the hospital’s main principles is to ‘aim for quality’ in the level of care and service it provides and as part of this ethos they decided to invest in new technologies that could help them achieve their goals.

In 2012 the hospital invested in the construction of a new mother and child department, providing UZA with an ideal opportunity to modernise and trial a new, IP based, patient TV system; something they had been keen to do for a while.

Dirk De Man, Head of Technical Services at UZA, commented; “The new build gave us an opportunity to look at doing things a different way, investigate new technologies and run a small scale trial prior to investing more heavily in the rest of our site; it gave us the opportunity to really understand the technology before we invested further.”

Ethos of quality care

Dirk explained; “We believe in providing a high level of care to our patients, this includes support before treatment, during recovery and after discharge. This can be difficult to achieve for many reasons so we looked at inventive and new ways to do this and saw a digital media solution as a potential aid.”

UZA hospital visited another site in Antwerp, already using digital signage and IPTV to provide information and entertainment to patients, and were impressed with what they saw; the site they visited was using the Tripleplay platform implemented by local expert integrator Alegre Media Solutions.

Dirk continued; “We were very impressed by what our neighbours were doing and could see how the service could be extended to help us enhance multiple areas of our hospital. Aside from the need to provide digital signage in communal areas, corridors, reception and waiting rooms, we wanted to provide bedside TV and also deliver TV and patient information to our on-site care hotel. “To find an integrator and a platform that could deliver all of this with a proven track record helped us make our decision.”

System growth and expansion

UZA initially rolled out 40 screens of digital signage around the hospital and IPTV and information portal to 30 beds. This was then quickly expanded to 100 beds of TV and then a further 70 in the on-site, 4 star quality, care hotel; providing a hotel quality TV system for patients, complete with care information, frequently asked questions and instructions for recovering patients.

Dirk commented; “Aside from providing digital signage and IPTV services, the interactive TV portal integrates into our property management system meaning we could allow patients to view their bill and invoices on the TV, receive messages from care staff, find answers to questions and, of course, access high quality live TV for entertainment.”

Digital switch off and process streamlining

Aside from improving patient care and experience, UZA had some more practical challenges which the Tripleplay and Alegre solution has helped them to solve.

“We are finalising the work on our JCI certification, as part of this we have an obligation to provide our patients with a lot of information and data. Traditionally we would have provided lots of posters and print outs for people to read but using the Tripleplay system we have been able to digitise the materials, provide the same information through TVs on site and make them available much sooner and at a lower cost,” added Dirk.

“There was also an impending analogue TV ‘switch-off’ coming and so digital TV was an inevitable change we had to make and we decided to make the jump to a newer technology before we were pushed into it by the broadcasters.”

A grand opening and a bright future

UZA’s new mother and baby unit was officially inaugurated in May 2015 by Queen Mathilde of Belgium.

In the future the system will adapt and flex to the needs of the hospital, its staff and patients, with customer questionnaires, patient meal ordering, personalised calendars and agendas and unique care information being provided through each TV.

Dirk summarised; “With the help of Alegre and Tripleplay we have created a truly patient centric solution, empowering them to help in their own recovery and making their stay at UZA a more comfortable one. We’re delighted to have chosen to work with them in a true partnership.”

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