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Community Hospital Borrows Show Biz Staging

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, October 5, 2011

"That alone segregates the folks here so you have a very quiet and welcoming front and then a very busy and active back," Barrow says. "And never the twain shall meet."

The hospital also features quiet rooms on each floor for family and friends; rooftop courtyards; a family kitchen in the ICU; and a large meditation garden off of the cafeteria. Even the staff locker rooms have "more of a country club feel than they do a hospital feel," Barrow says. "Not that they're elaborate, but that they are peaceful and quiet."

About half of the new facility was financed with the organization's cash reserves; a bond offering brought in the additional $100 million dollars. But according to Barrow, hospitals don't need to start from scratch in order to incorporate Disney-like customer service.

"First ask the question," he says. "How can we make this feel more like a health resort than a hospital?"

For example, increasing the amount of time nurses spend at the bedside is another customer-service improvement initiative that hospitals are undertaking.

To help achieve that, Our Lady of Lourdes has "same-handed rooms." Every room in the hospital looks exactly the alike, with every single supply, monitor, and remote control in the same place.

In addition, every patient bed is on the left, a simple element that Barrow says helps nurses "save their steps."

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