Patients who arrive at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital outside Detroit for the first time may think that they made a wrong turn and arrived at a luxury hotel instead of the 191-bed medical center. Visitors are met by uniformed valets and professional greeters, according to an article in the New York Times. Patients are served meals on demand 24 hours a day while members of the spa staff give in-room massages and other treatments.
The hospital, according to the article, is one of many to have taken lessons from hotel-inspired features, services and staff training and applied it in their facility to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes by reducing stress and the spread of disease.
Not to mention an excellent way to attract patients.
“It’s a way for hospitals to compete with each other,” said Zig Wu, a senior program manager at Stanford Health Care in California, told the newspaper. In the absence of reliable hard data on hospitals’ medical outcomes, Wu said patients look to the quality of the hospital’s environment and facilities to asses where to go for care.
Federally mandated surveys show that the evolving features at Henry Ford have helped to improve its customer satisfaction ratings and make patients more likely to recommend the hospital to others. Length of stay and readmission rates have also decreased, which has allowed the facility to treat more patients, according to the article.
A challenge for the hospital, is finding a balance between having adequate space to efficiently treat the additional patients and the growing amenities, like on-site stores, spas, and gathering places, “While clinical excellence is paramount, hospitality design elements are important to prioritize,” Wu told the publication, “even as clinical demand grows in a space-constrained environment.”