What Level of Service Do You Expect from a Hospital?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a star-rating system for the patient experience at more than 3,500 U.S. hospitals.

In an editorial on the CMS rating system, Lisa Allen, Ph.D. (chief patient experience officer, Johns Hopkins Medicine, director of service excellence, The Johns Hopkins Hospital) compares hospitals and hotels:

When you stay at a five-star hotel — if you are so lucky — you might expect a bowl of fresh fruit in your room every morning, gourmet restaurants on-site, and staff members who know your name and anticipate your needs. At a one-star hotel, you may just hope for value, cleanliness and decent water pressure.

The differences between a Four Seasons and a roadside hotel are plain to see, yet telling a five- and one-star hospital apart is not nearly as easy as the federal government’s new star-rating system for patient experience might lead you to expect.

As well, as a paying customer at a hotel, don’t we expect the best service, particularly at a five star hotel?

Should picking a hospital be like picking a hotel?

Telling a five- and one-star hospital apart is not easy - should it be? #ptsafety Click To Tweet

As an example, the Four Seasons proudly proclaims on its website what it intends to deliver to its customers:

We have chosen to specialize within the hospitality industry by offering only experiences of exceptional quality. Our objective is to be recognized as the company that manages the finest hotels, resorts and residence clubs wherever we locate. We create properties of enduring value using superior design and finishes, and support them with a deeply instilled ethic of personal service. Doing so allows Four Seasons to satisfy the needs and tastes of our discriminating customers, and to maintain our position as the world’s premier luxury hospitality company …

We demonstrate our beliefs most meaningfully in the way we treat each other and by the example we set for one another. In all our interactions with our guests, customers, business associates and colleagues, we seek to deal with others as we would have them deal with us.

Moreover, in dealing with customers when something goes wrong (in a hospital, a death or adverse event), the best hotels strive to (as Hilton puts it) “Make It Right”. In discussing how Hilton has built an award-winning guest experience program, Krystal Barghelame writes:

property management is empowered to make it right for their customers, resolve issues quickly, and continually make operational changes to make business better on-site. 

Should this attitude of service apply to hospitals?

For example, at the hospital where 11-year old Leah died of respiratory compromise, should the response of the hospital have been to immediately implement continuous electronic monitoring? Is this what could make hospital service 5 star?


5 star hospital service - continuous electronic monitoring of #patients receiving #opioids #ptsafety Click To Tweet

Another example – at the hospital where Nicola Tweedy died two days after having surgery on her varicose veins, “the hospital [had] failed to carry out a basic thrombosis risk check”.

Nicola Tweedy

Did her doctor do the right thing in admitting it?

What do you think? Should picking a hospital be like picking a hotel?

Should picking a hospital be like picking a hotel? #ptsafety Click To Tweet

[insert poll]


2 thoughts on “What Level of Service Do You Expect from a Hospital?

  1. Really helpful article. appreciate your article. I have been looking up for this information for a long time, and I am I found this article.

    I welcome this information and I would like to see more information like this.

    [edited for grammer/clarity]

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. We are currently putting together resources to keep you, your family and friends safe for going to the hospital during this COVID pandemic, and hope that these resources will be helpful and reduce any fears that you may have about seeing a doctor during COVID.

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