“Is This a Hospital or a Hotel?”

“Is This a Hospital or a Hotel?”

I don’t know how I missed this silly quiz the NY Times ran back in September as part of an article about patient amenities and hospitality influenced design in hospitals.

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In a highly competitive field, patients — sometimes now referred to as “guests” — appreciate amenities. The tactic works. “We found that patient demand correlates much better to amenities than quality of care,” said Dr. John Romley, a research professor at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics of the University of Southern California, who has studied the trend. That means that hospitals can improve their bottom line and their reputation by focusing more on hospitality than health care — offering organic food by a celebrity chef rather than lowering medication errors, for example.

The article provides very few real insights and completely ignores years of evidence that make s strong case for patient comfort as a measurable factor in a speedier recovery…but I must admit taking the “quiz” is enjoyable. I managed to get 11/12 – and the one I got wrong is a private “medspa” within a hospital so I don’t think it should count against me!

The Atlantic: Design Thinking and Health

An interesting, albeit scattered, account of how Steve Jobs style “design thinking” can effect not only the physical experience of a patient within a healthcare environment, but also potentially increase patient compliance and radicalize research for cures.  An excerpt:

“While in some circles (radiating concentrically from Palo Alto, one imagines), design is, if not quite passé, at least associated with irrational exuberance and extravagant expectations (see this 2009 posting by Peter Merholz, founder of the user experience consultancy Adaptive Path, and the energetic dialog his remarks engendered), these principles have made only very preliminary inroads into medicine and healthcare.

For starters, medicine is far less “human-centered” — that is, patient-centered — than most observers appreciate. In the exact same way that well-intentioned engineers often go awry by creating features based on their own perception of what they perceive users must want, medicine has spent a lot of effort focused on a physician’s idea of a patient, rather than developing a more nuanced view of life from the perspective of the patients themselves.”