Checking In? Why Hospitals Are Offering Services Like Hotels
You can’t spell “hospitality” without “hospital.” Many hospitals are taking this to heart and offering services that very closely resemble that of a hotel, from custom meals to valet parking. A few non emergency patients generally need help with transport to the hospital because they cannot drive themselves, so they are stuck either taking an expensive ambulance or not going. Services like these might be able to help patients as a whole.
Hospital marketers have identified the value in offering amenities that improve the patient experience. In a recent New York Times article, Dr. John Romley, a professor at the University of Southern California, Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, suggested that amenities are more important in determining patient demand than quality of care. Considering that noise is the biggest complaint among patients in hospitals — not infection rates or nurse to patient ratios — it may come as no surprise that these amenities have such a tremendous effect on patient demand.
Snoring. Television noise. A revolving door of visitors, doctors, and nurses.
These were the bad old days of hospital rooms. Even if you have not had the misfortune of being a patient in a hospital in which you were sharing a room with another patient — or two — you have probably visited a friend or relative in that situation.
That is why private rooms are such a huge draw, and a major marketing opportunity. In fact, private rooms have proven so popular that most new hospitals feature an all-private-room design plan. Patients are understandably flocking to hospitals with private rooms knowing that quiet and privacy are essential to the healing process.
Hospitals are notorious for bad food. Some hospitals, however, have used this stereotype to differentiate themselves from the pack.
For example, the University of Kansas Hospital has transformed their meal service into a room-service-like experience. Patients can order meals any time of the day, and have them delivered to their room within 45 minutes. They can select from menu items that have been specifically designed to meet their dietary needs and to aid in their recovery. Menu items are cooked to order and there is more attention to presentation and taste.
Hospital stays can be long, which can be demanding for both patients and their guests. Retaining a feeling of normalcy can be essential to the patient experience. That is why some hospitals are offering amenities that allow patients to maintain their lifestyle during the recovery process.
Many hotels have begun offering spa and salon services, such as therapeutic massage and even hair and nail services. One way hospitals can incorporate this service is to partner with a local spa services provider. For example, Norton Women’s Care at Norton Suburban Hospital teamed with a local spa to offer spa services for new mothers and moms-to-be. Three hospitals in the Dallas/Fort Worth area teamed with a local mobile spa services provider that brings the spa service to patients in the hospital. They serve a variety of patients, including obstetrics, oncology, and patients going through rehabilitation.
Incorporating hotel-like amenities can be a unique way to distinguish a hospital from others that offer similar care. These amenities improve the patient experience and serve as an extremely effective marketing tool.