The study concluded that "in crowded hospital markets, especially in areas populated by well-insured patients, such amenities play an increasing role in the competition for market share."
A 2008 study co-authored by John Romley, MD, for the RAND Corporation reached similar conclusions. The study of Los Angeles-area hospitals found "an increase in a hospital's amenities increased its demand among patients studied by 38.4%." That compared to just a 12.7% increase in demand among patients made aware of a hospital's superior clinical standards of care.
Romley said it makes sense for patients to consider what a hospital has to offer in terms of services. "Why wouldn't we expect patients to care about the broader experience?" said Romley. "This is a very consumer-oriented culture. It would almost be shocking if patients didn't care about some of these things."
There's no doubt that hospitals are always going to promote quality of care above all other factors when marketing to the local community. But these studies should provide food for thought – no pun intended- when it comes to upgrading meals and other amenities a hospital can offer to patients during their stay.