Hospitals look to hospitality industry for ways to improve patient experience

To increase patient satisfaction, many hospitals are turning to techniques used in the hospitality industry to keep customers happy.

The impact of the approach can already be felt in the increasing number of hospitals offering restaurant-quality menus, hotel-inspired lobbies and the growth of the chief patient experience officer in the C-suite, according to an article from Healthcare Dive. Improving the experience at all levels of care can improve patient satisfaction scores and promote brand loyalty, according to the article.

Paul Westbrook, founder of Westbrook Consulting and former vice president of patient experience at Inova Health System in Virginia, told the publication that improving the patient experience must start from the top. Westbrook, a 27-year veteran of the hospitality industry, formed a Patient Experience Transformation Team at Inova, according to the article, made up of senior leadership.

The team pinpointed five areas to target--culture, communication, human resources processes, leadership development and service excellence--and appointed one person to oversee progress on goals, according to the article. From there, system leadership named patient experience managers at each of its hospitals to expand the initiatives to all levels of Inova.

“It was soon understood that PE cannot be delegated...rather, it is who we are,” Westbrook told Healthcare Dive. “This mindset transition from a provider-center to patient-centric (approach) was critical, especially as healthcare becomes more consumer-driven.”

Hospitals and other facilities shouldn't look for a quick fix for low patient satisfaction, Westbrook told the publication. Much like in the hospitality industry, healthcare staffers who are not engaged in the process and treated with respect will not extend the same to the customer, he said.

- read the article