Hospitality lessons from luxury hotels help hospitals get a leg up on competition


Patients who visit Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Detroit for the first time may think they entered a luxury resort instead of a 191-bed hospital. Visitors are met at the door by professional greeters and uniformed valets, according to an article in The New York Times. Patients are offered massages and other spa treatments in their private rooms and 24-hour room service for meals.

The hospital, according to the article, is among many that have taken lessons from the hotel and hospitality industry and applied it in their facility to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes by reducing stress and the spread of infections.

In addition to clinical benefits, luxurious upgrades are an excellent marketing tool, Zig Wu, senior program manager at Stanford Health Care in California, told the newspaper.

“It’s a way for hospitals to compete with each other” in the absence of reliable data on medical outcomes, Wu told the publication. When patients cannot access such figures, he said, they instead look at a hospital’s environment and facilities to assess where to go for care.

Hospitals have targeted design and aesthetics as one way to improve patient satisfaction, FierceHealthcare previously reported, and some have undertaken multi-million dollar overhauls, or complete rebuilds, to make the physical space more appealing. Hotel-style lobbies can improve flow, and redesigned clinics can make staff more efficient.

Hotels may offer valuable lessons in customer service as well, another key component to satisfying patients' needs and desires. Hotels and restaurants provide an individualized experience, which is what patients seek from hospitals.

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