How free hospital Wi-Fi can improve patient outcomes - Open Reality

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How free hospital Wi-Fi can improve patient outcomes

September 8th, 2016 by Sam Cobley

Doctor with tablet computerFree public Wi-Fi is abundant these days, from your local coffee shop, to the cinema and now even the Tube. Yet so many hospitals, hospices, and care homes either don’t provide public Wi-Fi or charge an extortionate fee to use it.

We’ve outlined some of ways that free Wi-Fi will help improve patient outcomes.

Staying connected with loved ones

When somebody is admitted to a hospital (especially children) they can feel lonely, frightened and isolated. Continued contact with loved ones and wider social networks really assists recovery. By not providing free Wi-Fi this whole process becomes much more difficult and puts a real pressure on parents, relatives and friends to be physically in the hospital with the patient.

Keeping up with school work

Whilst a patient is in hospital the world keeps turning, and sadly that means that homework, essay and exam deadlines keep getting closer. If they have no ability to work or revise this can cause additional stress as the patient is worried about everything they need to catch up with once they get discharged. Taking this weight off their minds can make all the difference.

Accessing health resources

Those with the most health and social care needs are often the most digitally excluded. It is estimated that 16% of UK households do not have internet access and 33% of people with a registered disability have never used the internet. Free Wi-Fi provides a fantastic opportunity for people to discover tools, resources and information about their health whilst it is likely a central focus on their mind.


Whilst there are challenges to providing free Wi-Fi in healthcare settings it can and must be done in order to improve the standard of care and patient engagement in proactively managing their health.

For more information read Martha Lane Fox’s digital recommendations for the NHS.

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