Applying Hospitality Industry Best Practices to Patient Care

Whether you view it as a match made in heaven or a case of opposites attract, the marriage between hospitals and hospitality is a healthy and well-established union.

Just over two decades ago, when representing New York City’s esteemed Hotel Pierre, we had the opportunity to participate in creating a service training session for staff members of New York Presbyterian Hospital. The prescient administrators of this premier Manhattan institution, in a paradigm shift, wanted to explore a new way of thinking. They reached out to a five-star hotel (The Pierre, then managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts) to inform and inspire their associates with an out-of-the box idea. What if patients were treated like hotel guests? How might that affect their experience?

Taking patients from illness to a state of well-being was a given. In this exercise, going a step beyond to foster a positive, memorable experience signaled a fresh, new outlook on patient care.

Though New York Presbyterian was a pioneer, the concept took hold and gained appeal as hospitals evolved to proactively market their distinct services, specialties, facilities, accolades and staff. Competition and a desire to differentiate themselves created a niche market for hospitals and hotels to collaborate. Hotel industry veterans established consultancies geared to initiating hospitals and other medical facilities in the ways of hospitality. August institutions of higher learning, like Cornell University, began studying the correlation between these two types of operations, with their common mission to accommodate “heads in beds.” The partnership started with service concepts and graduated to facilities, amenities and other hotel-like approaches to health care.

So, where is this movement today? This Hospital(ity) series will explore ways health care providers are (or should be) thinking about applying hotel industry best practices to enhance patient care. The top five topics include:

  1. Tech’s Evolving Role in Measuring Patient Satisfaction and Creating Staff Scheduling Efficiencies
  2.  How Hospitals Can Use the 9 Scientific Drivers of Friendship to Foster Affection, Relevance and Trust among Staff and Patients
  3. How and Why Hospitals are Looking and Feeling More Like Hotels Today
  4. How Hospitals Can Adopt Crisis Management Protocols from Hotels
  5. How the Spa Industry’s 7 “Timeless Truths” are shifting the Focus from Illness to Wellness in the Nation’s Health Care Discussions

A bonus topic will explore natural healing trends that can be easily incorporated into patient protocols.

Welcome to the series. We hope you’ll find it enlightening and useful.