Hospitals that Look Like Hotels

0624-hospital-private-room_vg“We found that patient demand correlates much better to amenities than quality of care,” said Dr. John Romley, a research professor at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics of the University of Southern California, who has studied the trend. That means that hospitals can improve their bottom line and their reputation by focusing more on hospitality than health care — offering organic food by a celebrity chef rather than lowering medication errors, for example. (NYT)

More evidence of the theory I first proposed in Health Affairs here and here.

Comments (15)

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  1. Jackson says:

    I’m kind of confused by this. When I’m in a hospital I just want to get in and get out, preferably without being there long enough to form an opinion on décor or niceties.

    • Dewaine says:

      And you should have that opportunity.

      • Jackson says:

        I’m not saying I disagree with the movement, I’m just saying I don’t understand the mindset of people who are swayed by this.

        • John Fembup says:

          “I’m just saying I don’t understand the mindset of people who are swayed by this”

          Oh I think you do. You want to get in and get out. That parameter is important to you and it’s one that you notice and understand.

          Of course clinical quality is important. But it’s extremely hard for a patient to notice, much less understand. Meanwhile elements not necessarily related to clinical quality – such as courtesy, timeliness, modern facility, cleanliness, shiny equipment – are all noticeable and understandable to patients.

          If hospitals knew how to render clinical quality noticeable and understandable, I think it’s certain that patients would respond to it. But hospitals can’t or won’t – and so patients can’t and don’t.

          “correlates much better to amenities than quality of care”

          Yeah, it’s sad . . . but not a surprise.

    • Dewaine says:

      But, some might not want that.

  2. Stewart T. says:

    If the hospital took that money the used to attract rich people they could help a lot more poor people. Seems like a waste. Just another way the rich are walling themselves off from the rest of society while the poor struggle to get by.

    What’s next? Credit ratings mid-ambulance ride to ensure you can pay for it?

    • Dewaine says:

      If they took that money to attract the rich people away, then the rich people wouldn’t come and then there would be no hospital.

      • Stewart T. says:

        That’s why we need the government and taxation: to provide for things the market won’t or can’t sustain.

  3. Billy says:

    In such an over-regulated market I’m not surprised that they are taking this route. It’s the only thing they can use to differentiate themselves without an army of lawyers crushing them.

  4. JD says:

    Makes sense that people would want to have a more comfortable time in the hospital. It should be an individual choice whether you want to pay for a good care, good comfort, both, or neither.

  5. Studebaker says:

    Patients assume that quality if uniform across medical providers. But that really isn’t true. Some physicians keep up to date more than others. Some doctors spend more time working with patients. Some hospitals better coordinate care among diverse professionals.

  6. Joe Barnett says:

    It could be argued that amenities make a hospital less depressing, and create a more optimistic mood, helping patient outcomes. At least it looks more like they care. By contrast, the old green or gray walls of VA hospitals, e.g., were certainly depressing.