What Aspects of Hospitality are Most Important to Patients?

Dr. Gallan’s blog “Hospitality in Health Care” rightly urges health care executives “to consider the differences between hospitality and health care before they fully commit to implementing important changes.” While the physical environment — cleanliness, pleasantness, comfort, way-finding and navigational ease and intuitiveness, places to rest and relax, etc. — is important and often the focus of hospitality initiatives in other industries, Gallan points out that the goals of hotel guests and patients are different. In a study “Hospital(ity) Issues: Attitude Towards Hospitality in Hospital Settings” conducted in the Netherlands, the authors found that patients ranked personal attention and approach by hospital staff as more important aspects of hospitality than accommodations and facilities. Gallan cites other similar studies and conclusions. Ultimately, the authors of the Netherlands study conclude — and I believe Dr. Gallan would as well (if I read his blog correctly) — that “a truly hospitable attitude in healthcare requires a meaningful translation of traditional hospitality and a shared understanding of the concept of hospitality in hospital settings.” Therefore, health care executives will do well to consider the importance and priority of quality interactions between caregiver and patient when reflecting on hospitality in a hospital setting.


Our guest editor this week is Andrew S. Gallan, PhD who is an Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing, Driehaus College of Business, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, and faculty research fellow at the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University.

Recently I’ve noticed an increased emphasis among health care leaders to pay homage to the trend of incorporating lessons from the hospitality industry (for a great example, see http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/strategic-planning/should-hospitals-be-like-hotels-qaa-with-gerard-van-grinsven-ceo-of-henry-ford-west-bloomfield-hospital.html). With an increased focus on the importance of patient experience, many health care leaders appear to turn outward for successful examples to emulate. This is a sound logic, as much of the improvement seen in travel and hospitality (think Ritz Carlton) can inform a thoughtful health care executive in improving metrics on patient experience.

For instance, much research has been put into creating physical environments that are pleasing to customers, including colors, scents, and physical cues such as signs and queuing prompts…

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