WiFi SPARK creates Hospedia alternative for hospitals

By Jo Makosinski 2-Oct-2022

SPARK TSL offers trusts a new business model, improved bedside units, and more-intuitive access to entertainment and communication services

WiFi SPARK is offering hospitals a new solution for delivering bedside entertainment and communication services

WiFi SPARK is offering hospitals a new solution for delivering bedside entertainment and communication services

WiFi SPARK is offering NHS trusts and health boards a route out of their Hospedia contracts, a year after taking over the management of the bedside terminal supplier.

The leading provider of wi-fi, entertainment, and communications services is launching SPARK TSL as an alternative for the 75% of acute hospitals in the UK that use Hospedia terminals.

SPARK TSL is built around a new business model that moves away from Hospedia’s unpopular and administration-heavy ‘patient pays’ model for entertainment and calls.

It also features new SPARK Horizon bedside terminals and a refreshed SPARK Media package, with an improved user interface and better integration with a store of time and cost-saving apps.

Matt O’Donovan, founder and chief executive of WiFi SPARK, said: “When we took over the management of Hospedia, we said our ambition was to change its business model from ‘patient pays’ to ‘free at the point of use’.

“The creation of SPARK TSL delivers on that ambition, while enabling trusts to roll out modernised bedside units, and media and communications packages that will deliver for their organisation, staff, and patients alike.”

As concern mounts about the cost-of-living crisis, asking patients to pay for news and information, and to keep in touch with their loved-ones, is no longer tenable

Volaris Group, the parent company of WiFi SPARK acquired Hospedia in November last year and WiFi SPARK took over the management of the company, which had installed 56,500 bedside terminals at 160 hospitals.

Bedside terminals were first rolled out in the early 2000s to replace TV sets on ward trolleys and payphones in hospital corridors.

But the high charges were always controversial.

Under the SPARK TSL model, the cost of upgrading the terminals and running SPARK Media would be met by trusts, health boards, or charities.

O’Donovan said: “We know that the NHS is facing unprecedented demand and significant financial challenges right now. However, as concern mounts about the cost-of-living crisis, asking patients to pay for news and information, and to keep in touch with their loved-ones, is no longer tenable.

“Instead, trusts should be thinking about how they can fund these services themselves; not least by making better use of their bedside infrastructure to give staff access to the digital tools that can help them to deliver better services while making worthwhile time and cost savings.”

Trusts should be thinking about how they can fund these services themselves; not least by making better use of their bedside infrastructure to give staff access to the digital tools that can help them to deliver better services while making worthwhile time and cost savings

The new SPARK Horizon terminals can be mounted on walls or on wheeled trolleys and workstations.

The lightweight and flexible units have been chosen to make the best use of hospitals’ existing infrastructure and to be quick and easy to install.

The latest SPARK Media package is available for the bedside units or as a bring your own device (BYOD) solution.

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SPARK Media gives users access to news, hospital information, charity links, and a library of apps, which WiFi SPARK is looking to expand, to give app developers a new option for getting cutting-edge ideas into the hands of clinicians and healthcare professionals.

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