Hospitals are squandering huge opportunities to improve the health of in-patients and the public, while possibly reducing health care costs. Is it too much to expect hospitals to have their in-patients watch at least one health film before they're allowed to watch the TV programming a hospital provides during their stay?

If hospitals had 50 or more health films their patients could view, and if patients were given the choice after watching a health film of watching more health films or of watching the standard TV programming a hospital provides, might not many patients chose to watch more health films? And might not all of us benefit from that with reduced health care costs?

So what might hospitals offer in the way of health films?

For women, how about a breast self-examination film? One in eight women in the U.S. get breast cancer, and teaching women how to examine their breasts could lead to earlier detection, which could save lives and be less damaging and costly for those who survive.

Another film for women might explain the symptoms women have during a heart attack. In years past heart attack symptoms focused on men.

A film for men could be about testicular cancer and self-examination. Around 8,000 men between the ages of 15 and 35 get testicular cancer every year in the U.S. The earlier it's detected, the greater the chance of curing it.

Many people would like to know CPR, but can't find time to take a CPR class. And even though taking a CPR class may be better than watching a film about it, wouldn't it be good to have many more people, maybe millions, who learned how to perform CPR from a hospital film? How many times do people die or suffer more severe damage because no one around them knew CPR and felt confident enough to perform it on someone who needed it? Also, CPR is now taught differently than it was a few years ago, as mouth to mouth resuscitation is no loner taught as part of the process. Such a film could bring those who know the outdated method up to date on what is considered proper CPR.

German Dr. Henry Heimlich proposed the Heimlich maneuver in 1974 to dislodge food from people who were choking and might die. How about a film on how to perform it on standing people, people laying down, infants, and yourself?

There are around 800,000 strokes in the U.S. every year, yet many don't recognize a stroke' symptoms, which can make a stroke's impact more deadly or debilitating. Strokes need to be treated as quickly as possible to reduce their impact, and a hospital film could be helpful in getting more people to recognize a stroke's symptoms.

A film about when and how to apply a tourniquet could save lives. How many die each year because no one in a crowd stepped forward to apply a tourniquet because no one knew how to? Such a film might also reduce the number of ignorant good Samaritans who apply a tourniquet that does permanent damage to a limb.

Some films might be about "local" health problems. The Center for Disease Control says 300,000 cases of Lyme Disease are diagnosed each year in the midwest and northeast. Not only would a Lyme disease film inform about its symptoms, but what steps to take to avoid getting it from deer ticks.

There are many other health films hospitals could use too. Those mentioned here would tend to be shorter films, but movies and documentaries could be included too. The 2015 movie Concussion with Will Smith is an example of a movie hospitals might use.

I developed this view about hospitals offering health films while trying to think of ways to market a film I've made - One Punch Homicide. I thought hospitals should show it to almost every male in-patient between the ages of 14 and 40. Then I thought hospitals should have a catalog of 50 or more health films they could offer in-patients.

Hospitals are in a very unusual position now. They serve many people who have screen addictions - computer and/or television. In fact, many of those they serve with screen addictions are there because of problems related to their addiction. They treat many of these people and then when they're recuperating the hospital will allow them to return to their couch potato ways by showing them the same programming that got them there to begin with. Why not offer them health related films while they may be thinking about their health and how to avoid future hospital visits?

Many people have negative impressions of film's impact on health. A couple examples of film's bad health influence would be encouraging punching incidents and cigarette smoking. Let's hope hospitals will give film a better reputation for improving our health.

by Steve Kokette