When people look for a hotel room for an upcoming trip, they shop around. They look for the hotel that will provide the most comfortable stay, offer the best amenities, and provide the best experience.
So why isn’t this the case with hospitals? Why do people shop around and look at the guest details for hotels, but not for hospitals?
The administration at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital started asking themselves similar questions and began looking at how they could position their facility to start treating visitors like welcomed guests, rather than clinical patients.
A story in the New York Times reports that Henry Ford, which is located just outside of Detroit, has taken a new approach to their patient experience. While providing top-notch clinical care is always at the forefront of their hospital plans, they have also started focusing on providing a five-star patient experience.
From the time guests arrive at Henry Ford, they are treated with hospitality comparable to that of luxury hotels.
Uniformed valets and professional greeters welcome guests. They are treated to free WiFi and 24-hour/day room service options. They can schedule in-room massages and spa treatments. Amenities, typically found in fancy hotels, are at the patient’s disposal at Henry Ford.
So, why are Henry Ford and other smart hospitals and facilities like it so focused on bringing hospitality into hospitals?
It Improves Patient Satisfaction. Healthcare facilities want happy patients. By offering upgrades and a more welcoming and comfortable environment, they can provide guests with a more satisfying experience.
It Decreases Patient Stress. When patients are more satisfied, they are less stressed and anxious during their visit. Most people don’t like a trip to the hospital, but upgraded amenities and services help put them at ease.
It May Help Improve Patient Health. The benefits of less stressed patients lead to another big win for the guests and the hospital. The New York Times article reports that “such amenities can improve health outcomes by reducing stress and anxiety among patients.” Guests that are at ease may be more likely to heal faster and better.
It Offers Key Differentiators. Providing superior amenities and services promotes better health and satisfaction for patients, and is also a major marketing tool. Hospitals like Henry Ford use upscale amenities to distance themselves from the other hospitals that provide similar services but with a standard, bare-bones offering of services and amenities.
It Creates a Loyal Patient Base. By standing out from the competition, smart hospitals that offer upscale amenities create deeper connections with their patients. They are no longer a facility chosen out of necessity. They become a preferred service provider and the first choice for patients. They create a loyal client base that chooses them any time they have an option between multiple healthcare facilities.
It Triggers Word-of-Mouth Recommendations. When an organization has a loyal client base, they are more likely to get referrals from raving fans. By providing a remarkable experience, hospitals like Henry Ford increase the likelihood that they will get new patients based on recommendations from previous patients.
Henry Ford provides upscale amenities and services to bring these benefits to their facility. They also use high-end atmosphere upgrades.
According to the New York Times article, “Some [hospitals] are being created with curved hallway walls and sound-absorbing materials to reduce noise, cupboards in patient rooms where instruments can be tucked out of sight and gathering spaces designed to feel more welcoming and less clinical.”
It’s not just about providing upscale services and amenities in these hospitals, it is about providing upscale ambiance, interior design, architecture, smart design, digital signage, and advanced technology.
Henry Ford also utilizes an online outpatient appointment scheduling system modeled on airline reservation portals. It serves patients by providing technology they enjoy, while serving the hospital as it dropped cancellations and no-show rates.
Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital is leading the way in a line of smart hospitals focused on exceeding the expectations of their patients. And, other hospitals and healthcare practices should take notice.
As choices for healthcare options grow, hospitals and private practices need to provide exceptional care and experiences if they want to continue to serve, impress, and retain patients.
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