Comfortable patients make quicker, smoother recoveries. Hospitality Network aims at enhancing Canadian patient care through providing entertainment during hospital stays.
For over 45 years, Hospitality Network has provided televisions, phones and other entertainment services to Canadian hospitals. The company began by wheeling small televisions into patient rooms. Over time, Hospitality Network grew into Canada’s leading entertainment service provider within the healthcare industry. They now offer television, phone, Internet, movies, games and preferred accommodation services in close to 400 hospitals and Senior Care homes across Canada.
Hospitality Network operates in all ten provinces, entering the Quebec market in 2012. They offer fully bilingual customer service both through their call centre and service representative visitations. The company provides both hospital and senior care home services, opening their market to both institutional and individual buyers.
Hospitality Network’s COO, Serge Lafleur, credits the company’s success to its innovative business strategy; “Our business model is based on providing a revenue share back to our customers. That’s one of Hospitality Network’s strengths. We strive to provide a solution that’s capital-free, we manage the on-going operations, it generates a revenue share for the customer, and allows our customers to focus on providing healthcare.”
Patient entertainment is not considered an essential service in Canada. Patients must opt-in to receive the services Hospitality Network provides. This produces a widely varied patient use rate.
“It varies depending on demographic,” explains Lafleur, “Wealthier sections of Canada have a higher penetration rate. It also depends on the type of care. Acute care penetration rates are significantly lower than in senior care homes.”
Hospitality Network designed innovative technologies to adhere to Canadian hospitals’ strict health codes. Equipment must withstand intensive infection control cleaners, many of which use high levels of peroxide. Power cords and electric access points must also be controlled and fed differently than in a usual household setup. All casings must be designed to prevent patient exposure to bacteria. Through following safety precautions, Hospitality Network’s equipment lowers possible patient shock exposure and maintains high sanitation standards.
The company’s high-end solutions involve android-based terminals, described by Lafleur as, “a combination of a very sophisticated tablet and a TV.” The device looks most like a television, yet it incorporates an android-based operating system that allows for application integration. Patients can browse the Internet, watch television programs, and access applications such as Skype. The terminal’s easy-to-use touch screen interface makes it accessible to patients with little experience using new technologies.
Hospitality Network also continues to offer more basic services, such as windows-based computer systems and simple LCD television sets. The business markets itself through digital signage and advertising on its own television channel, the HN Network.
The patient entertainment industry is a competitive market. “Our competitive edge is our deep understanding of the environment,” says Lafleur, “We’ve been in the industry for so long. We’ve been able to fully understand that patient entertainment and clinical integration can actually be a service you provide to both the patient and the hospital.”
The company motto, “Keeping you in tune, in touch, and informed,” summarizes Hospitality Network’s goal of remaining a dominant player within the ever-evolving health care industry.
“The healthcare industry in Canada is really ten different industries, as each province handles health care differently,” says Lafleur. “It’s about staying close to provincial needs and current trends. The advancement into things like telemedicine can easily be integrated into our solutions, providing access to healthcare not only in hospitals but at home.”
Hospitality Network plans on moving forward through new technology and service solutions to the healthcare market. “One of our projects this year is to develop more applications to enhance the patient experience, such as a lighting, temperature control, dietary application integration, clinical application access and patient record access.
We’re also incorporating other groups in the hospital, such as the gift shop, into our solutions. For example, our solution allows the gift shop to have a virtual presence at the bedside, allowing patients to order remotely,” explains Lafleur.
Lafleur’s drive stems from the personal satisfaction he gains through his work. “One of the most rewarding moments is our patients calling our call centre and telling us their hospital stay is a bit easier because of our entertainment services. It lets them forget [their] fear for a few minutes. This is the motivation for myself and the company – [people] go through tough periods in life, we can make it a better experience.”