Healthcare News & Insights

5 lessons hospitals can learn from hotels

Hospitals could learn a lot from the hospitality industry, particularly hotels.

134115418Recently, experts from the hotel industry spoke to healthcare execs at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement conference in Orlando, taking them on a behind-the-scenes tour of the conference facility to show them parallels between hotels and hospitals, and how they serve patients.

As described in an article in Modern Healthcare, here are five lessons you can learn from hotels, and how you can improve patient care in your facility.

  1. Put the patient first. Hotels are focused on customer service first and foremost, and hospitals should be focused on serving their customers – the patients. Patient-centered care is becoming the norm in health care, and hospitals will achieve the best results if they drive their decisions based on that philosophy.
  2. Staff attitude matters. Because hotel employees spend a lot of time interacting with people, hotels place a high priority on hiring workers who have the right personality for the job. Hospital employees care for people. So when hiring, try to choose staff with an equal combination of professional expertise and people skills. Patients respond better to helpful, friendly staff. And employees with good attitudes are better team players who are more likely to be engaged in their work.
  3. Avoid making snap judgments on value. In the Orlando hotel, any items that customers left behind were kept in the hotel’s lost and found for up to six months, regardless of their monetary value. Hotel employees realized that, even if an item didn’t appear valuable to them, it may have value to their guest. Hospital staff should have the same mindset when it comes to patient care. Details that may not seem important at first glance, such as the quality of hospital food or the temperature of a hospital room, may hold more weight for patients than you think.
  4. Make it easy for patients to tell who’s who. Hotels tend to use standardized uniforms for each group of employees, from front-desk staff to the cleaning crew. And each uniform is significantly different from the next, so customers can tell the difference right away. Instead of having all clinical staff wear similar scrubs, hospitals should make it easier for patients to tell them apart.
  5. Work with competitors in overflow situations. Hotels place customer service above all else. So if a hotel is filled to capacity for the night, it’ll often refer guests to a nearby hotel, even if it’s a competitor. Hospitals should adopt similar practices. Instead of having patients wait for hours in a crowded emergency room, hospital staff should direct patients to a facility where the wait may not be as long. While this doesn’t often happen, this would go a long way toward improving a hospital’s reputation with patients, which would likely increase business in the long run.

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