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Public Charging Solutions in A&E Departments: Power Banks vs. Lockers

The Role of Phone Charging in A&E Departments

In the fast-paced and high-stress environment of hospital Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments, every second counts. With more than 1.5 million patients in England alone enduring over 12 hours of waiting time in A&E over the past year (The Guardian, 2023), the need for efficient and reliable phone charging solutions has never been more critical.  

Let’s explore the differences between charging lockers and power bank stations, highlighting their unique advantages and significance in today’s healthcare environments. 

Addressing Patient Needs in NHS A&E Waiting Rooms

The increasing waiting times in NHS A&E departments highlight the importance that patients are able to stay connected with their loved ones and can move around freely with their phones. Hours spent awaiting medical attention can make patients feel isolated and stressed, especially if their phone batteries are dying. 

Over the past few years, hospitals have increasingly turned to two different solutions to keep their patients fully charged:

Charging lockers
Traditional charging lockers are simple. Lock your phone away in a small compartment & leave it to charge while you wait. Originally popular in the retail sector over ten years ago, charging lockers were the first movers in the smartphone charging industry. While companies have chosen to still operate charging lockers, the common feedback from customers is that they would rather be with their mobile devices versus locking them away.

Power banks
Power bank rental companies have innovated on the charging locker, producing a solution that allows patients to rent a power bank from a kiosk. This newer solution allows patients to move around without being tied to one spot. In places like emergency departments, where patients need to switch between waiting areas and examination rooms, the flexibility of power banks is incredibly helpful for keeping loved ones informed and providing comfort. 

Recognising the importance of staying connected, especially in uncertain times, patients highly value having continuous access to their mobile devices during hospital visits. This need is especially clear for parents with children, who rely on digital distractions to ease their little ones’ discomfort.  

Staff Responsibilities and Security 

When implementing a phone charging solution in a high-pressure hospital environment, it is important to prioritise staff responsibilities and security. Ultimately, hospitals seek to alleviate pressure on their staff rather than adding to it, all while ensuring the safety of patients’ devices. 

Traditional charging lockers can create a logistical challenge for hospital staff. Managing spare keys or codes for multiple lockers can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Additionally, the responsibility falls on the staff to ensure that lockers are available and accessible to patients when needed. This added burden can detract from their primary focus on providing quality patient care. In the event of a lost original key, the security process becomes vulnerable. Each time a spare key is used to secure a phone, there is a risk of unauthorised access and potential theft. This weak link in the security chain exposes patients to the threat of having their devices stolen. 

In contrast, power bank stations offer a hassle-free alternative. With a fully managed service, NHS staff can focus on their main tasks without having to worry about keys or codes. This means fewer mistakes and less risk of theft, making sure patients feel secure about their belongings. 

From Space to Scalability 

In hospital A&E departments, where space is tight, every inch matters. Power bank charging stations offer a compact and easily expandable solution, seamlessly fitting into existing infrastructure without taking up valuable floor space. In contrast, traditional charging lockers typically require more space, which could pose challenges in the already crowded department. 

In recent months, Joos has witnessed a surge in demand for its machines, with numerous hospitals requesting additional stations to their premises. Across several clients, Joos is now in numerous departments across the hospital, ultimately serving to improve the patient experience. This example highlights the ease with which the power bank solution can be scaled to meet the increasing needs of existing clients.

Conclusion

A patient in A&E holding his phone with a Joos power bank.

In conclusion, having reliable phone charging options in hospital A&E departments is vital, especially given the rising demand for connectivity in healthcare settings with long waiting times. Power bank stations emerge as a top choice due to their compact design, scalability, and ease of use, addressing both patient needs and staff responsibilities effectively. As hospitals aim to improve patient experience operational efficiency, investing in solutions like power bank stations becomes essential, ensuring connectivity and security in high-stress environments.

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