Healthcare and Hospitality, at the first sight they may seem to be two diametrically diverse industries but a closer look will reveal the common chord – both aim at customer satisfaction. And both industries measure this satisfaction in terms of tangible and intangible components. For instance, a patient has to ‘feel’ better in order to get better and this part needs the right ambience as well as the right amenities to be in place.
Healthcare marketing has also grown aggressive in seeking any possible edge to draw patients to a certain facility. One of the most recent healthcare hospitality trends involves labor and delivery units. Many maternity units have revamped their looks and services to mimic a hotel or spa environment. When considering where to have a baby, women are now being wooed by amenities more than medicine.
Other areas of hospital have also been made more comfortable for patients and guests. Many hospitals have changed the model of their dining facilities from a cafeteria to a more restaurant atmosphere. Hospitals are now required make any additional rooms constructed to be private rooms.
Amenities are not the only way hospitals are seeking to improve the patient experience. Employees are being taught to develop a strong sense of empathy which will enable them to better connect and care for patients and their families. Feelings, which create an experience, are being taught to be valued over efficiency.
But training employees on customer service is just one part of creating a culture of excellence in a hospital. Building a strong culture of excellent service takes time, but ultimately results in a better patient experience.
CHANGING MINDSETS OF PATIENTS AND THEIR EXPECTATIONS:-
• Patients demand the best value for their money in terms of services without much waiting time for registration, consultation, investigation, treatment and discharge.
• The advent of social media has made it very easy for patients to comment, gripe and complain in real time — making it harder for hospitals to stake their reputation on just a few rankings touted in their ads.
• Money cannot buy health but it can surely reduce the surviving illness. The focus has shifted to comfort and facilities that would make it stand out from others.
• Auxiliary Services: For the convenience of the visitors and attendants, these hospitals have several provisions. For instance, Max Hospital in Delhi has a provision for supplying food from reputed food chains within the hospital including Café Xpress, Café Coffee Day and Subway.
• While the food service is one of the areas witnessing a change, another important facility at these hospitals is that of housekeeping. Patients get best of laundry services at their premises.
• Furthermore patients seek more environment-friendly hospitals e.g. the one with international standards for disposing bio-medical waste or own sewage treatment plant and facility for water recycling.
• Due to the extremely stringent hygiene norms, the hospital kitchens are designed with Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification as a pre-requisite. At the same time, the hospitals will have comprehensive F&B service facilities to become fully self-sufficient thereby avoiding any need for the patients’ attendants from eating out.
• Patients demand for residential elements: Designers no longer have to build around the technology and more clients are demanding a more residential feel. The hospital has a connection to nature, such as a healing garden and leaf motif in the carpeting and ceramic tiles surrounding the fireplaces “make people feel like they are in a small hotel or home of a good friend.”
• Special services: The child-patients look for video games and grown patients for televisions and a collection of favorite books and magazines so that they just forget the pinch of the recovery time after the procedures.
• Patient expect someone to guide them while waiting for the facilities e.g. at registration, OPD block, investigations etc. so his emotions play a major role in seeking a particular hospital.
• Patients overwhelmingly rate the level of their care higher when there is good communication between the patient, doctors, nurses and support staff. By focusing on communication, patient satisfaction and training, service management system brings hospitality to healthcare.
• Regular monitoring and assessment of patient satisfaction is very important. This effort will quantify hospital’s performance so that the quality improvement efforts will be scientifically based and data-driven. Gathering patient’s feedback will strengthen provider-patient partnerships.
WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO PATIENTS
Gone are the days when hospitals were only concerned with physical wellbeing of a patient. As new research has pointed out that physical and mental health is inter-related. Hospitality in the context of a hospital strives to make the patient’s experience pleasant. This will pay handsome dividends in the future as positive word-of-mouth. Thus it is important to give due consideration to the aspects that are important to the patients, such as:
• Amenities – Food, Private Rooms, Entertainment options like cable and music, Wi-Fi, Easy Access and Convenient Parking
• Atmosphere – Cleanliness, Hospitality, Friendliness, Comfort, Relaxing Environment
• Treatment – Pain Management, Services Offered, Technology
• Safety – Patient Safety, Personal Safety, Privacy
• Nursing – Attitude, Attentiveness, Responsiveness, Courtesy, Caring, Respect, Treatment of Family
• Physicians – Access to them, Listening ability, Knowledge, Manner, Compassion, Reputation.
• Admission and Discharge – Quick, Timely, Follow-up, Discharge, Support, Affordability, Information
VARIOUS SERVICES WHICH CAN BE OFFERED TO MAKE
PATIENT STAY MORE COMFORTABLE
- We want all our patients to have a positive experience and great care. If you have questions about preparing for surgery, we are always there to help.
- If you are able to receive phone calls, they will ring directly in your room for specified hours and Calls outside of those hours are directed to the hospital operator and the call will be transferred to your unit.
- To make a local call, dial extension number and then the phone number. Long-distance calls from your room can only be made with a credit card, calling card.
- Guests are always welcome during regular visiting hours. Visiting hours may vary based on your needs. Family members are defined by the patient and are not limited to relatives. We welcome designated family members at any time and for your recovery and privacy, family members are discouraged from staying overnight with you. However, if you need the support of your family during the night, please speak to your nurse. All guests and family members should respect the privacy of other patients and may be asked to leave if their behaviour is disturbing others. Guests under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older, in addition to the patient.
- Meals will be delivered to you during the specified times and If your doctor has put you on a restricted diet, you will receive a special menu. If you have a test or procedure during your mealtime, your meal will be served as soon as you’re able to eat. Staff members from the Food and Nutrition department are happy to answer any questions.
- Mail is delivered to your room once per day, except on weekends and holidays. After you leave the hospital, your mail will be sent to your home. There are outgoing mailbox chutes located near the elevators in the Central section.
- Please be mindful to keep the volume on your television low or use earphones if you’re still struggling to hear it. Please turn off your
Special occasions :
- If you are in the hospital on your birthday or anniversary, we want to help you celebrate! Upon request, we’ll make a birthday cake as our gift to you and do whatever else we can to make your day special. Please ask your nurse for details
Overall the trend towards a more service oriented, almost hotel like hospital stay, is a positive one for patients. Numerous studies have indicated the health benefits associated with massage therapies and stress reduction techniques like meditation. By bringing these more alternative treatments to patients in need, outcomes and satisfaction are improved which are important metrics for hospitals.