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GetWellNetwork: Healing through connectivity

By Mikie Hayes | The Catalyst | March 6, 2014

Get Well CartThe GetWellNetwork cart is a computer, TV, and nurse call system all rolled into one.

Few things are more stressful than a hospital stay: Lying in an unfamiliar bed surrounded by beeping monitors and dripping tubes and a seemingly endless cavalcade of medical professionals coming in and out of the room at all hours.

MUSC has set out to provide a different type of patient experience, one that may reduce stress while offering integrated, in–room amenities aimed at helping patients stay informed, connected and engaged.

Patients now have the ability to control their free time and with the push of a button to watch a video that would explain the test scheduled for the next day, catch up on personal email, surf the Web, and view a newly released blockbuster movie, all from the privacy of their rooms.

Meet the GetWellNetwork — a computer, TV, and nurse call system all rolled into one.
Originally introduced at MUSC in 2005, GWN provided a baseline patient education and entertainment system. In the ensuing years, GWN has evolved into a more sophisticated system with improved technology and software to meet the needs of care providers and patients.

After recent renovations to MUSC hospital rooms, the system was upgraded and now has a Windows–like appearance and greater functionality making it easier for both providers and patients to utilize. Doctors, nurses and dietitians, as well as respiratory, occupational and physical therapists can choose topics they feel are relevant to the patient and load them onto the patient’s page.

The system includes a library of more than 600 high–quality educational videos and content on specific health conditions, medications, tests and procedures. Most videos last less than five minutes and provide a great deal of valuable information in that short amount of time. Patients are able to search by topic and terms.

Once admitted to a room, GetWellNetwork immediately welcomes the patient to the hospital through the bedside TV. Using a wireless keyboard and a remote, the patient is able to navigate through the simple on-screen menu. After a few minutes of easily–digestible online instruction, offered in both English and Spanish, patients report being comfortable maneuvering within the system.

There is a two–minute video that all patients must view and then they are free to move about the information as they choose. On the screen, the patient will see boxes they can access that are classified priority and favorite. Staff is able to send personal messages to their patients, ask them to watch particular videos, or direct them to discharge information. For example, nurse may send an educational video about diabetes right to the patient’s screen. The patient will then see the number 1, for instance, in a priority box — indicating the number of items recommended to view.  A patient can choose to watch that or the latest Avengers movie.

Kathleen White, R.N., clinical services administrator in the Center for Education and Best Practices, said, “Of primary importance to me is patient and family education. We have our patients for a short amount of precious time. During their stay, we want to provide them with educational information that will be of greatest help to them.  Understanding a diagnosis, test, medication, or other intervention most certainly helps.”

According to White, engaging patients is critical to better care. When patients take an active role participating in their health care, the results are better outcomes and greater patient satisfaction. Video education, in particular, has proven to be an effective tool because it is multi–sensorial — the patient hears an explanation and sees visually appealing images and written terms.

The priority boxes on a patient’s screen include information such as the risks associated with falling, hand hygiene, particular procedures and conditions, medications and their side effects, preparing for discharge, getting prescriptions filled. It also provides the ability to provide real–time feedback to unit managers concerning their stay.

In the favorites boxes, the patient can select hospital information and access the patients and visitors page to find information on guest services, pastoral care, visiting hours, ATM locations, parking, dining and pharmacy services. Other topics include rules on smoking, share a compliment, search health websites, browse health videos, and much more.

Access to TV, current movies, games, music, and the Internet are all available at the push of a button. Patients can stay in touch with family and friends by email or by adding information to their CarePages, a personal Internet blog page where they can share details of their journey during their health challenge.

The system was designed to improve the patient’s overall experience and feedback has been extremely positive, according to Sue Monette, an interactive patient care manager with GWN. The system has many other innovative capabilities that once integrated, can further improve hospital services available to patients. Monette said, “If you can dream it, suggest it.” 




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