Sunday, July 31, 2005

Hospitals Becoming More Hospitable

From the Nashua Telegraph

A Beanie Baby that Michelle Fagan’s daughter received during a visit to the emergency department at St. Joseph Hospital for stitches several years ago led to a new hospital practice: St. Joseph-blue stuffed bears with white T-shirts for every child who is a patient.

“We give out thousands of bears a year,” said Fagan, director of service assurance at the hospital. “It’s a good business thing, but also good for patient care. You get good outcomes when people feel comfortable. At the end, it’s about delivering good health care in our community.”

It turns out the stuffed bears represent an ongoing trend in hospital marketing. Across the country, hospitals are vying for market share by offering amenities – frills such as room service, valet parking, Internet access and more that are typically associated with a visit to a hotel.

Hospitality, which comes from the root word hospital, is becoming increasingly important at hospitals. Health-care analysts say that during the last five years, competition in markets where there are several hospitals of equal stature has become focused on amenities – concierge services for patients and modern technology for physicians and other clinicians.


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