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Hospital Hospitality

As I have written about before, I have had reason to spend more than my fair share of time visiting someone in the hospital over the past few years. Although this has not been a fun experience for me, I have had the opportunity to observe some very positive improvements in amenities offered to patients.

Most of what I noticed was at one major Boston area hospital (which will remain nameless for the purposes of me not getting sued). I cannot be sure all of them are following its lead. But I hope they are because how I regard this particular hospital has significantly changed due to these simple enhancements. When I see references to this hospital now, I smile rather than shudder. I cannot say that about others.

Some of these enhancements include:

  • Room service! Gone are the days of missing the food cart. You can order off a menu at anytime by calling room service. Their wine list was a little lacking, though.
  • There are mini-fridges in hospital rooms now. This is where they keep the mini soda cans (the kind you only find in hospitals). And it is a great place to keep the chardonnay.
  • They validate parking for visitors! It took me a while to discover this great feature. There are two validation possibilities – standard and special. To qualify for special validation, you must make real nice with the nurses and then they give you a sticker which qualifies for free parking. In Boston this is something significant.
  • Patients have DVD players and VCRs on their TVs. This is an awesome development. I can just imagine watching my “Lord of the Rings” Special Edition while on medication.
  • Speaking of medication, doctors are quite liberal with it. They seem to maintain an “if you ask, we give” policy. Again, an awesome development.
  • People are actually helpful in the hospital. During an early visit to this hospital, a Nurse’s Aide saw me trying to understand the directory and map (which was about as helpful as a cross-section of the Death Star). She asked me if I needed help. She then walked with me to the cafeteria to be sure I found it!

Now, I am not recommending a stay at the hospital, but at least they are making it suck less if you have to. It seems even hospitals are beginning to consider user experience into how they build their services.

I was stuck in the same hospital following an injury in 1997. It was awful. Perhaps if some of these things were available then, I would not have hated it as much.

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