NEW YORK CITY --More hospitals around the nation have been adding mobile device charging stations as an amenity for patients, visitors and staff, and new mandates will likely increase the demand. Hercules Networks, a company that makes the popular goCharge kiosk line, says vending operators are ideally positioned to benefit from this popularity, since they already have established relationships as service providers at such locations.
The self-service stations include charging cables for most portable phones, tablets, music players and other mobile devices.They're typically installed in waiting and emergency rooms, cafeterias and at nursing stations, allowing patients and their visitors to stay connected, keep up with work and pass the time playing games and reading e-books, without worrying about running down their batteries.
The charging station can be fitted with a credit card reader or bill validator, or can be set for free vend, as an amenity.
New York's North Shore/Long Island Jewish, Cincinnati's Mercy Health, the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and Houston, TX's Methodist Hospital are among institutions that have added goCharge stations to their waiting and emergency rooms.
GoCharge pointed out that "Press Ganey scores" published by Press Ganey Associates, Inc. (South Bend, IN) account for approximately 30% of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey, which hospitals must report in order to receive full Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement under the Affordable Care Act. This popularity ranking makes patient satisfaction more critical than ever. Many hospitals are reportedly adding the charging stations, at least in part, to improve those scores.
Several hospitals are also finding they can put the goCharge stations to good use for health education, in addition to providing the charging convenience. Most goCharge models, such as the Orion (the most popular model for hospitals), offer a display area for either static messages or the ability to add an iPad or other tablet device for dynamic messaging. This communication capability also helps to minimize waiting-room clutter from brochures and other informational material.
Hospitals today also are gearing up for the implementation of the new federal Electronic Medical Records mandate. As of January 1, 2014, this will require electronic patient record-keeping, most readily accomplished with iPads and other mobile devices. As a result, goCharge anticipates that a solution to charge these units will be in strong demand. Since there also will be a need to store them, the company has introduced a series of lockable charging units designed specifically to store and recharge all mobile technology devices.
Hercules offers a range of floor and tabletop models, with as many as 96 custom configured charging tips, a patent-pending charging technology that delivers faster-than-average charging speeds, and options including LCD digital screens measuring from 10.2" up to 42", illuminated billboards, lockers to secure the devices, and "wrapping" capability for sponsorship and branding.
GoCharge stations also are located in bars, malls, sports arenas, coffee shops, university student unions, military bases and other venues nationwide.