22 March 2023
The word hospitality evokes a sense of being welcomed graciously and treated with warmth, trust, and goodwill. It means extending comfort and establishing a relationship to make the guest feel at home. Creating a rapport between the patient and the hospital is similar if the objective is the best clinical outcomes.
While healthcare is a fundamental right in our country, the degree to which it is accessible and how it is delivered is questionable.
When a patient approaches a hospital for treatment, it is with a lot of trepidation and apprehension. The first contact at the hospital is the moment of truth, just like at a hotel. While the primary intent of the patient is the clinical outcome, several other experiences at the hospital are also vital in establishing a sense of confidence and assurance. Besides the doctor’s bedside attitudes, the behaviour of support staff in the response time, prompt service in serving food, use of the latest equipment, patient communication, transparency, cleanliness and hygiene etc., go a long way in playing a vital role in the patients’ experience.
The medical industry in India is seeing a paradigm shift towards a more significant role of the private sector in citizens’ healthcare. However, the quality of service at patient-staff touchpoints is not adequately commensurate with increased privatisation in the Indian healthcare space.
As a result of the revolution in Indian healthcare/hospitals, trends like attractive valuations, innovative models, the rise of tier 2 cities, pressure on margins, consolidation etc., have emerged as the primary focus areas. But none of these changes is as remarkable as the highly aware and decisive consumers of the modern world, including patients of hospitals. Patients realise they have a right to know their health conditions and can often make decisions concerning their health needs. The demands of patients from hospitals have steadily gone up. These expectations are similar to those of a restaurant, hotel or high-end brand showroom.
In today’s scenario, despite the efforts of the hospitals to meet the demands of the patients and their caretakers, there is a real gap in delivery. Delivery often falls short of promises, resulting in “promise gap syndrome”. The evolution of the patient as a discerning customer has given birth to the patient-centric culture in hospitals.
Administering healthcare with a human touch is now the name of the game. The modern medical industry has woven, into its operations, a service culture to ensure a seamless, end-to-end experience. The hospitality dimension is inseparably and intricately bound to the sustainable structure and compassionate service delivery.
It has been scientifically proven that for a healthcare environment, aesthetically designed natural elements or scenery are conducive to reducing stress and inducing receptivity to treatment. The ambience of hospitality design renders patients and attendants feel at ease and reduces the anxiety of being in a new environment. That is why it is important to incorporate many hospitality elements, like spacious reception and tastefully and ergonomically designed furniture, decorative walls, attractive lighting with soothing music etc., in hospitals.
Another aspect of hospital hospitality lies in the food and beverages department. Providing customised food to patients and delicious, wholesome fare to the attendants in a pleasing manner is essential.
The common synergies and intersections between hospitals and the hospitality industry are many. Hospitals quickly realise these factors and embed them into their operations for maximum outcomes, both clinical and otherwise. It is no longer a choice but a necessity for hospitals to adopt the best practices in the hospitality sector. The additional services have grown beyond hygiene factors to influencing and differentiating factors. Empathy and hospitality become the talking points shared by patients and their attendants with others.
A healthcare facility has metamorphosed into “hospotel” (a hotel within a hospital) where treating a patient as your guest is critical. The prime factor for a patient’s revisit is satisfaction based on previous experience.
To sum up, services provided at hospitals can be viewed on three levels:
The core clinical service level, which depends entirely on the expertise of healthcare professionals, has limited innovation prospects in service delivery.
The second level is the mixture of clinical and non-clinical services, including patient safety, quality of service, functional design, protocols etc., with greater scope for innovation.
The non-clinical level includes the hospitality factors, including housekeeping, soft-speaking service providers, response time, waiting time, food and beverages, etc. These are the differentiating factors with limitless possibilities.
Reference Link: http://bwwellbeingworld.businessworld.in/article/Hospitals-Paradigm-Shift-From-Clinical-Services-To-Patient-Centric-Hospitality/22-03-2023-470028/