July 20, 2012
Navigation tool in hand, television services coordinator Tria Tucker demonstrates the new, interactive TigrNet system planned for The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center opening in April 2012.
There was a time, Television Services Coordinator Tria Tucker says, when a lady would stop by a patient’s room with a cash box and sign-up form in hand for television service each day. And if you didn’t pay, she notes, that lady would come back later and turn off the TV.
"Not only that, but the TVs got poor reception and looked like they came from ‘The Flintstones’ era,” laughs Tucker.
The days of per-diem fees and channel surfing a boxy 13-inch TV are long over, says Tucker, noting that television access in the Children’s Center today is free and clear and the channel choices many. Now, in the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, television services have a more futuristic and family-friendlier face. A new system called TigrNet not only offers extensive television programming through 26- and 32-inch flat-screen LCDs (liquid crystal displays), but interactive gateways to myriad healthcare resources related to the patient’s stay, like patient education videos and clinicians’ bios. Families no longer have to rely on printed materials for information about the hospital, their child’s care and their care team. Through TigrNet, a digital carousel of Hopkins Children’s expansive services are at their fingertips and a click away.
“You can think of TigrNet as an instant patient portal to all of our amenities, resources and services,” says Tucker. “Patients have access to the Internet, e-mail and gaming using their television as the monitor, to their CaringBridge page for notes from friends and family at home, or to their patient education page where they can view videos prescribed by their physician. All they have to do is click and watch, and they can leave their laptop or digital device at home.”
When patients turn TigrNet on, Tucker explains, they enter a personalized welcome page with their name, date and room number, and a customized Hopkins Children’s portal layered deep with resources and services specific to the hospital. They see icons for access to basic TV, Internet, hospital services, and patient education. Rather than leaf through multiple brochures or a heavy hotel-like concierge guidebook in their room, patients can navigate digital pages via a wireless keyboard or a hand-held nurse-call device at their bedside. And no instruction booklet is needed. In the new hospital, concierges and customer service representatives familiarize patients and families to the system.
“It is now part of the overall admissions process and orientation to your room.” says Director of Patient/Family and Visitor Services Mary Margaret Jacobs.
While the interactive system offers an array of entertainment options, Jacobs points to its ability to push tailored “on-demand” educational materials to the patient as its greatest value. TigrNet offers over 200 videos on subjects ranging from managing a chronic disease to coping with your hospital stay. In a patient- and family-centered approach, the system also offers care-team pages to patients, putting a face on their healthcare providers.
“So when a person on your medical team comes through the door,” Tucker explains, “you’ll know that person’s name and face, and their role on your team.”
In the future, TigrNet may offer virtual access to a variety of hospital services, including Child Life, dietary, guest services, housekeeping, pastoral care, and pharmacy. Real-time patient/family surveys may be another application, allowing staff to respond to concerns pre-discharge.