Case study: Henry Ford offers high-touch amenities

Henry Ford Health System has become the latest provider to ramp up hospital amenities to hotel-like levels. The idea, at Henry Ford and elsewhere, is that if you make patients and families more comfortable, not only will they be more likely to return, they'll also get better more quickly.

The system's new 300-bed community hospital and wellness complex, which cost $350 million, will include not only standard clinical services, but also comfort options like private rooms with couches, flat-screen TVs, refrigerators, laptop computer tables and security safes for valuables. What's more, the rooms have been designed to meet "feng shui" design standards. The complex also offers wellness options like health coaches, holistic therapies and personal trainers, along with a mall-like retail corridor offering health products for sale.

Perhaps the most unusual element is Henry Ford's plan to dramatically improve food service at the hospital. It's partnering with a Detroit restaurateur, a college culinary department and an Ohio organic farm that sells largely to exclusive restaurants to boost its nutritional offerings. The new food program will allow patients to order nutritious, restaurant-quality meals 24 hours a day. Even more unusual, the food will be cooked fresh, using natural and/or organic ingredients where possible. The notion is that such food not only soothes patients, it aids in their recovery.

To get an in-depth look at Henry Ford's program:
- read this Detroit Free Press piece

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