Should Hospitals provide free WIFI for patients?

Discussion of how WIFI can provide distraction and reduce anxiety

Free WIFI is readily available in hotels, shopping centres, fast food restaurants, and many high street stores and banks but what about hospitals?

On a recent visit to the QE Hospital in Gateshead I was surprised, and delighted, to discover that waiting areas for outpatients offered a free-to-use wifi service.

Any business owner knows that communication is of paramount importance. The ability to email and access online services makes their stay more manageable and less frustrating.

A visit or stay in hospital can be a stressful experience at the best of times. For individuals with modern smartphones and tablets, having access to online services, including social media and entertainment is a welcome and popular move.

Having recently accompanied a patient spending 10 hours on a chemotherapy ward I am in no doubt that wifi would have proven a welcome distraction.

It appears there is no standardised national programme for hospitals to offer patients, visitors and hospital staff free wifi.

I most certainly had not expected to have access to free wifi in hospital – but my appreciation is summed up by a quote from one of my business contacts:

Distraction is your friend - the more you focus on the anxiety the worse it becomes, so try to do something different; literally, take your mind off it. Incidentally, this is where internet is amazing – unparalleled.

If you have any thoughts on whether hospitals should offer free please get in touch via our contact and network page.

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