The hotel industry is known to be a major employer, foreign exchange earner, technology innovator, even an economic barometer and, now, a model for other industries. The Chicago Tribune today has a story headlined “Competition forces hospitals to upgrade” that says “when the dust clears on Chicago’s hospital-building boom, it may be difficult to tell the city’s medical facilities from its luxury hotels”. The amenities are surprisingly reminiscent of hotels and include “24-hour room service with extensive menus; flat-screen TVs with patient-education programs, entertainment, even the bill; private rooms with intimidating medical equipment hidden behind panels until needed; and better views”. Apparently hospitals are also tapping into managerial expertise from the hotel industry. In one case, a Midwestern hospital is taking the idea of borrowing further from the hospitality industry a step further. The Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital near Detroit last spring hired a Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. general manager, Gerard van Grinsven, as its president and CEO. The Tribune notes how Ginsven “will incorporate the Ritz-Carlton’s signature stand-up management meetings at the new facility, where staffers literally stand and congregate for 5 to 10 minutes each morning to reinforce customer-service mantras. New hires also will get more customer-service training than in the past”.
With medical tourism in Asia and the Far-East thriving, the move to bring hospitality best practices to hospitals represents yet another opportunity for the majors in the industry to offer their expertise overseas. It could well result in Hyatt and Marriott hospitals in India, Philippines and Singapore.