The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (known as OSUCC or "The James") has long been known for its high-quality care, but when the facility was rebuilt its leadership wanted a space designed to help improve the well-being of patients, families and staff. A 21-story complex part of OSU's Wexner Medical Center, The James draws patients seeking expert consultation from its world-class oncology specialists. But when those patients arrive at its new front doors, they find a place designed with them, and their families, in mind.
Among other things, The James is now home to restaurants, retail shops and banking services, free wireless Internet, large windows in rooms with expansive views, and casual “family lounges" where visitors can rest. Rooftop gardens complement a park across the street, and there's even an onsite Patient and Family Resource Center, run by staff and volunteers ready to answer any questions. “It's meant to make you feel more at home—and less like you're in some kind of institutionalized medical facility," said Corbin Shaw, a healthcare innovation specialist at Fuse, Cardinal Health's innovation center.
The James is just one of a growing number of hospitals and health facilities that have sought to bolster their standing by improving and amplifying the patient experience. Taking a page from the playbooks of other industries, and especially from the worlds of retail and hospitality, such organizations are now marketing their amenities alongside their reputations for care quality. “A lot of it has to do with increasing deductibles," Shaw noted. “Patients are more cognizant of where their money is going, so when they have the choice, they're shopping around."
So what have hospitals learned from their industry counterparts as they've looked for new ways to keep their patients happy? Here are five of the most important takeaways:
As anyone in retail or hospitality can attest, success in a competitive industry requires more than bells and whistles. In the end, you must deliver the goods, whether it's a room in a hotel that meets every expectation or better outcomes for the patients you see. Some organizations, including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, are publishing patient-satisfaction scores on their websites to highlight how well they're meeting patient expectations. And companies like Healthgrades publish doctor reviews and annual lists of hospitals that qualify for their “Outstanding Patient Experience Award."
The James has also zeroed in on results, and even maintains a “Patient Experience" hotline that visitors can call to offer feedback to their providers. The idea: Listen to what patients have to say and then implement changes that will lead to improvements. “What patients really want is the best quality of care they can get," noted Fuse innovation solutions manager Kristina Redgrave. As providers add more amenities to attract patients, Redgrave encourages them to remember to stay focused on what matters the most: patient outcomes.