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A turning point in healthcare services, combining Hospitals and Hotel Experience

Hotels and hospitals share many fundamental characteristics. Both serve increasingly demanding and knowledgeable customers, employ a sizeable hierarchical structure of staff and workers with varying levels of responsibility, and have incentives increasingly linked to customer and patient ratings. This is a pivotal point where the success of a hotel or medical institution depends on customer care through improving the quality of service provided.

In the hotel industry, years of management experience and market research have led to extensive improvements and innovations to satisfy customers. However, there was little exchange of knowledge and management between the hotel and hospital industries until changes in the healthcare system emerged, pushing hospitals to develop their focus on patients to a more hotel-like service approach due to research showing positive effects on patient satisfaction and recovery time after medical procedures.”

 The hospitality industry has always been aware of the goals: guest satisfaction and surpassing expectations. It has dedicated decades of efforts to improve its services and administrative structures.

Studies in this field have agreed that hospitals can and should benefit from achievements in the hotel industry to improve patient satisfaction without repeating similar research and studies on market trends. These studies have shown that this leads to rapid improvements in patient experiences, and this success factor has contributed to the transformation of hospitals from traditional to hotel hospitals.

In addition to its impact on payment, patient satisfaction may be a sign of clinical quality. Healthcare and hospitality were included in a survey conducted by HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), the first national and public survey of patients’ perspectives on hospital care. The survey included questions on various issues, including communication with nurses and doctors, hospital staff response, calmness and cleanliness, pain management, medication administration, discharge planning, and even the hospital’s cost-based reimbursement program, quality of services, and level of care provided.

In this context, a recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine showed that high patient satisfaction scores are related to several factors. According to the survey, what satisfies the patient is not only medical procedures but also care, service, communication, and comfort in the place of residence. These requirements push hospitals to adopt procedures that make them closer to a hotel than a haven for disease victims and cries of pain.

The hotel industry has always been aware of this goal: to satisfy guests at a minimum and to exceed their expectations as a goal. Its management has dedicated contracts of effort and resources to improve its products and administrative structures.

 Experts believe that hospitals can easily benefit from the lessons that the hotel industry has learned the hard way. Adopting and adapting hotel practices to healthcare can significantly improve patient acceptance and satisfaction, ultimately benefiting hospital management, doctors, staff, and, most importantly, patients.

Studies also show that the World Doctor Rating directly relates to communication skills, including showing respect, listening carefully, giving easy-to-understand instructions, spending enough time, and explaining things. Interestingly, improving communication between doctor and patient has also been linked to improving patient outcomes, underscoring its importance. A simple gesture, such as a doctor standing beside a patient’s bed, can make a difference. It enhances communication with patients, their families, and caregivers.

There are many similarities between the hotel and the hospital, the most important of which is the focus on guests/patients who receive accommodation and services. Both employ an extensive hierarchical sequence of workers with varying levels of responsibility. Studies have shown that a high nurse-to-patient ratio and good communication with nursing positively impact patient satisfaction. Similarly, in hotels, the concierge and the housekeeping, restaurant, and bar staff are essential for providing a good customer experience. Just as the hotel industry offers customer service training for all team members, all hospital staff should be included in measures to improve satisfaction.

One of the main differences between hotels and hospitals, and a potential improvement area, is the pre-admission experience. Before admission, patients receive questionnaires about their current medical condition and often refrain from food and water due to a surgical appointment, contributing to increased anxiety and discomfort. Providing patients with as much information as possible regarding their upcoming admission helps reduce this anxiety.

Common Mechanisms of Success

Despite efforts to improve many areas of patient experience, things can still go wrong. Hotels have proactive mechanisms to identify and address patient dissatisfaction and problems or to correct them when possible. For example, suppose an employee determines that a guest is unhappy with a particular meal or that the room needs to be adequately cleaned. In that case, the manager will contact the guest (before filing a complaint) to offer a discount or credit for any unsatisfactory service. Guests are pleasantly surprised by this gesture, which turns an unhappy guest into a lifelong customer.

The same can be applied in a hospital setting. To succeed, dissatisfied patients must be identified early by relevant staff and their concerns addressed as quickly as possible. If a patient is unhappy, the opportunity to correct their impression of the hospital disappears when he leaves. Therefore, doctors, in particular, must spend more time communicating face-to-face with patients when complications arise. We should be aware that fixing a bad experience can leave a better impression than having no problem in the first place.

These methods have contributed in recent years to transforming hospitals from traditional practices to a hotel-like approach in dealing with patients while maintaining the quality of healthcare practices. It took little effort for researchers to demonstrate that this pioneering experience in hospotel significantly impacted patient satisfaction and hospital success.

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