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April 24, 2013

Hospital Customer Service

by mhislop

Today in class we watched a short clip on the Henry Ford hospital, and got me to thinking, why is it the poor customer service is not only a given in hospitals and doctors offices but is almost expected? Most of us probably equate our experiences with long waits, brief consultations with doctors/nurses who often seem to busy to ask the right questions or take into considerations our own opinions. We think of bleachy sterilized smells and cold stark rooms, and perhaps if you are lucky a background of elevator music.  

 
But it is important to note here that these terrible experiences are not purely an annoyance they actually are physical and mentally detrimental!  Last year, I took a 500 level seminar on Health and Well-being (a psychology class) and my professor spent considerable time talking and have us read about hospitals. While I no longer have my notes from the class,I can tell that the laundry list of items hospitals could improve upon is quite extensive. Ill list some of the factors i remember below, but I want to mention that patients who went to hospitals that embraced the research and implemented it reported happier level of well-being, were more likely to have friends and family visit and stay longer lengths of time, recovered quicker and to a higher level of standard patients and were less likely to get sick again,  
 
So some of the changes:
-natural lighting. Every hospital room and doctor room should have natural lighting.
-better views, that include greenery or water! dont design a room with views looking onto the neighboring ER.
-friendlier nurses… that actually talk to the patient like a person, not a disease to be cured and then get rid of
-better signage – why are hospitals notoriously confusing?
-friendly waiting rooms with access to food, water and natural lighting
-private rooms. we know hospitals want to maximize space, but patients recover better when they arent separated by a thin sheet of fabric
-rooms with paintings that feature natural landscape (no modern art!
-hospital equipment that keep children in mind – ie are painted to be fun, and not scare children away! 
 
_The Emily Couric cancer center right next to us has actually tried to embrace these findings, take a look if you have a chance.!
 
And finally, new gown designs. these were actually just released this month by the henry ford innovation center and feature patient gowns that have backs! they look like robes
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