Do hotel-like hospitals deliver patient-centered care?

Some hospitals are using innovative, hotel-like design elements to attract insured patients and generate better outcomes and profits--a strategy the CEO of Henry Ford West Bloomfield (Mich.) Hospital embraced to enhance patient-centered care.

According to President and CEO Gerard van Grinsven, amenities, such as 24-hour room service, flat-screen TVs and made-to-order food, are "wellness" services and not "luxurious," he said in an interview with Becker's Hospital Review.

With such wellness-focused services, the hospital hopes to improve the patient experience, as well as the healing process, said van Grinsven, a former area general manager for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. The amenities also help create market distinction and a loyal consumer base, he noted.

The Henry Ford exec called on all healthcare institutions to adopt patient-centered care, although not everyone agrees with his hotel-like approach.

"[I]t's not hotel amenities. It's not china plates for meals," Michele Lloyd, vice president for Children's Services at NYU Langone Medical Center told FierceHealthcare last week about what makes a successful patient-centered care model.

Lloyd noted people mistakenly think patient- and family-centered care is about being nice, and therefore they implement systems that mirror hotel-type services.

"And those are certainly all good, and we all would want to be treated very well from an amenities perspective if we were hospitalized, yet that won't achieve more positive healthcare outcomes or safety" she said.

Although its technology and backup generators are under fire this week with Sandy's storm damage, NYU Langone Medical Center staff has been praised for their pediatric patient care, with reports of staff carefully evacuating newborn babies.

Lloyd emphasized the core principles of partnership, dignity and respect of information sharing, and transparency.

Regardless of what makes up a patient-centered model--van Grinsven touted cooking classes to educate patients on their conditions and Llyod encouraged robust patient-family advisory councils--the goal is to put patients first.

"While every hospital and every market is different, the concept of focusing on our customers' overall health versus just their illness is universal," van Grinsven told Becker's.

For more:
- read the Becker's interview
- read the FierceHealthcare interview