Creative Interventions as Patient Amenities in Hospitals

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What do consumers look for in hospitals?  A recent article in BusinessWeek (Feb. 16, 2009) touched on this topic by citing a RAND marketing survey that plush accomodations may be more of a draw than high-quality care.  2 RAND economists studied hospital choices of 8,721 Medicare patients diagnosed with pneumonia.  The study showed a high amenities score of a hospital was more popular with patients than a low pneumonia mortality (death) rate, pneumonia-mortalitywhich I find very interesting.  If I were diagnosed with pneumonia, should I go to Hospital A with a low death rate, and therefore, a much greater chance of recovery and survival or  Hospital B that functioned more like a hotel with gourmet meals, flat-screen TVs and plush accomodations  – hmmmm, let me think about this!

Apparently, Medicare patients diagnosed with pneumonia preferred the fluff amenities of plush accomodations, flat screen TVs, cable.  Instead of offering hotel-like services, let’s focus on the business of healing by offering cost-effective Creative Interventions as patient amentities over cushy accomodations.  Here’s a few questions to ponder on:ultimate_creativity_for_site

  • Which is more cost-effective – creative interventions for patients or expensive accomodations in a financially overburdened healthcare system? 
  • Which service will be more benefical to patients and families long-term – creative interventions or a designer comforter? 
  • Which service addresses and complies with the standards set by  Joint Commission (JACHO) and the Commission on Cancer – creative interventions or plush accomodations?

My idea of patient amenities are not flat-screen TVs, gourmet meals, concierge services and the like.  I understand the desire for fluff services – when I’m well so I can enjoy and appreciate them.  If I’m sick, well, I just want to get better so I can return to my life.  I believe comfortable and soothing environments are conducive to healing…gardens, nature, soft lights, along with offering Creative Interventions (creative amentities) to patients.

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   Creative Interventions = Patient  Amenities

 mhand_infinity_sm                                                        (“infinity” Marti Hand, 2008 )

Below is the abstract for the RAND study…

“Hospitals As Hotels: The Role of Patient Amenities in Hospital Demand” 

Amenities such as good food, attentive staff, and pleasant surroundings may play an important role in hospital demand. We use a marketing survey to measure amenities at hospitals in greater Los Angeles and analyze the choice behavior of Medicare pneumonia patients in this market. We find that the mean valuation of amenities is positive and substantial. From the patient perspective, hospital quality therefore embodies amenities as well as clinical quality. We also find that a one-standard-deviation increase in amenities raises a hospital’s demand by 38.4% on average, whereas demand is substantially less responsive to clinical quality as measured by pneumonia mortality. These findings imply that hospitals may have an incentive to compete in amenities, with potentially important implications for welfare.  (Dana Goldman and John A. Romley. 2008. “Hospitals As Hotels: The Role of Patient Amenities in Hospital Demand” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper)

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Something to ponder on…”More damage has been done to others by persons leading lives of quiet desperation…” Neale Donald Walsch, 1998 in Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue.

Are you living your life in quiet desperation?

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