Healthcare News & Insights

8 innovative ways hospitals keep patients, staff happy

Innovation is key to continued growth and success in the healthcare industry. Leaders and executives in this arena are always looking for new and improved equipment, advancements and services to help operations run more smoothly, improve employee morale and, of course, optimize patient care. 

Here’s a list of innovations that hospitals are employing and reaping great benefits from:

Dream house and car bonus
Working at Riverside Community Hospital in California really may be a “dream job.” New nurses with at least one year of experience, who commit to working full-time for three years, are offered sign-on bonuses different than most — a dream house/car bonus. If these new hires choose to relocate to a home in the hospital’s neighborhood, the hospital pays $12,000 of the closing costs on their new home. And for nurses who don’t need or want that bonus, they can opt for $10,000 in car payments instead. As a result, the hospital was able to fill their open nursing positions in half the time they expected, and this bonus program has become part of the brand for the hospital.

Hospital@Night Communication System
Nottingham Hospital in the UK is using wireless technology to allow nurses to contact doctors who are on the wards at night, on weekends and during bank holidays. This is an innovative solution to the burdensome and interrupting “beepers” that doctors must have on hand at all times, and improves communication strategies throughout the hospital. According to the Hospital@Night press release, “Nurses on the wards fill out an online form with details about the patient, what needs to be done and how urgently. This is picked up by nurse coordinators, who are out on the wards with portable tablet computers. They allocate the job to a doctor, who receives a message on their mobile phone,” where they have the ability to view the urgency of the message and respond accordingly.

Zen Medicine
Calming the mind, body and spirit is just as important as physical therapy and rehabilitation in hospitals throughout the world. The Fall 2012 opening of the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital includes a meditation room for patients and their families, as well as an outdoor terrace for peaceful, mind-opening walks.

Madison Hospital in Alabama is also tapping into the holistic healing approach with a brand new 2.4-acre “healing garden”, complete with a labyrinth and remembrance pavers to honor loved ones as visitors follow peaceful paths through the gardens.

“The Most Magical Place on Earth”
Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and others from the Disney lineup have become commonplace in children’s lives around the world. When it comes to helping kids recover from an illness or surgery, there’s almost no better way to lift their spirits than to bring the magic of Disney into hospitals where they’re recovering. Teaming up with Walt Disney World and The Disneyland Resort, the Walt Disney Pavilion at the Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, California are using the characters’ charm in their design to make the hospitals “the most magical place on earth.”

From Farm to Table
Hospital food has come a long way since the unappetizing meals of pre-heated chicken patties and jello. Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton, Virginia is home to “The Bistro on the Hill”, a popular dining destination for patients, visitors and community members alike. The hospital’s “culinary healing garden,” located just outside of the kitchen, is where organic herbs, fruits and vegetables are grown to use in the meals prepared by the culinary team. What doesn’t come directly from their garden is purchased from farmers in close proximity to the facility. Everything is made from scratch and includes wholesome ingredients for a healthy, well-balanced meal. The hospital gets rave reviews from visitors, as well as those from the community who choose to dine there, and take pride in being part of a unique and healthy hospital initiative.

A Work of Art
According to a study conducted by The Society for the Arts in Health Care, today’s renewed focus on humanistic care is leading to a resurgence in the knowledge and practice of incorporating the arts into healthcare services. Currently, 40% of hospitals have permanent art displays. Instead of stark white walls and fluorescent lighting surrounding patient and operating rooms, we now see celebrated works of art by local and internationally-known artists. One of the newest and largest collections is housed in the brand new, $1.1 billion facility at Johns Hopkins Medical Facility in Baltimore, MD. Displayed throughout the children and adult towers, there are 500 original paintings, sculptures and murals created by more than 70 artists from around the U.S.

No Time to Waste
In healthcare, time is of the essence. Yet one of the greatest fears when going to the emergency room is that patients will have to wait for hours at a time before being seen or treated by a doctor. Today’s top facilities are making an effort to reduce ER wait times and are sharing this information with the public to ease their concerns. Many hospitals are displaying live wait times where patients can access the information quickly and choose a care center that best meets their needs. For example, HCA hospitals in Texas are using digital roadside billboards and iPhone apps to let patients know what the average wait times are, St. Mary’s General Hospital and others in Canada post live wait times directly on their website, and St. Mark’s Hospital in Utah uses text alerts to inform their patients of average wait times.

Pampering Patients
Recovering from illnesses and surgeries isn’t easy, and doing it in a hospital where patients are constantly monitored isn’t a walk in the park either. Taking that added stress into consideration, many hospitals now treat patients for their conditions and the stress that comes with it. Patients in some hospitals can now choose to visit the spa, which is conveniently located in the lobby, for a wide variety of therapeutic services. Or if patients can’t make it to the spa, the spa goes to the patient. From massages for adults and babies to facials and relaxation classes, in-house spas have been proven to help patients recover faster. Scottsdale Healthcare in Arizona and the Fitness Centre & Day Spa at Florida Hospital Celebration Health are just two of the leading hospitals offering these services.

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