It's time for another update on the Year of the Patient, MODERN HEALTHCARE's call for providers to emphasize customer service above all other business strategies.
This week's cover story on design and construction spotlights Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, which was determined to redefine care in its new $16 million, 34,500-square-foot emergency center. The freestanding facility offers bedside registration and private treatment rooms for emergency patients and their families. The center is called ER-7 because patients are assigned to one of its seven separate patient-care zones, such as trauma or pediatrics. Creative recommendations on the ER project came from Nordstrom and Disney, recognized superstars of customer service.
Speaking of the emergency room, a few hospitals are researching the impact of allowing loved ones to observe treatment. Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens in New York City were cited for their bold ER experiments in a Feb. 26 USA Today cover story.
Although the idea of a family member standing over a surgeon is fraught with legal and emotional barriers, the benefits can be immeasurable. Family presence can help calm the patient, or it can allow loved ones to say a final goodbye if death is imminent.
On a more cheerful note, a group of outpatient surgery nurses at the progressive LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City are determined to humanize the patient experience. Because of their persistence, patients can wear robes and underwear from home, rather than lying practically naked in those annoying gowns. Ambulatory patients are allowed to walk into the operating room rather than wait for someone to roll them in a wheelchair. And family members waiting for outpatients can help themselves to free refreshments. These are the sort of nice, simple touches patients will remember.