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What Role Does Hospitality Play In Your Patient Experience?

Healthcare providers strive to create a seamless patient experience and deliver high levels of patient satisfaction but often overlook one key factor: hospitality.

What role does hospitality play in your patient experience?

Hospitals prioritize providing appropriate treatment and medical care to enhance the patient experience and clinical outcomes at a time when people are at their most vulnerable. Addressing these areas has often been seen as essential to patient satisfaction and a contributing factor to high HCAHPS scores.

But new research suggests there may be an overlooked dimension in patient satisfaction – that of hospitality.

A study published in February 2020 by Cornell University explores how patients evaluate the quality of care during their hospital stay. It concludes that hospitality – above medical care – is the key to high levels of patient satisfaction and notes the following: [1]

‘’…patient satisfaction scores have emerged as a key metric of consumer-driven care, tied to hospitals’ Medicare reimbursement rates and to executive compensation.’’

Patient satisfaction scores are a key metric of consumer-driven care, tied to Medicare reimbursement rates. Click To Tweet

Defining hospitality in healthcare

The definition of hospitality in healthcare goes beyond the traditional guest/host expectations and can be drawn from two suggested definitions:

“Good Samaritan hospitality”: This is motivated a desire to care for the vulnerable who need to feel valued and recognized. [2]

Hippocratic Oath: An alternative definition from the Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science (CHIIS) suggests that hospitality must go beyond taking care of the medical aspects of a patient’s illness and physical health. This definition of hospitality begins with the Hippocratic Oath, highlighting six elements that identify what patients want, namely:

  • Respect
  • Friendliness
  • Empathy
  • Kindness
  • Gratitude
  • Happiness

Kindness in particular, influences the choice of healthcare provider for the majority of Americans, who would be willing to pay more and travel further to encounter kindness during their illness.

Interpersonal communication by nurses, such as their responsiveness and compassion, are also significant factors in achieving high levels of patient satisfaction. [1]

How can hospital leaders tap into this invaluable insight into the patient experience, take steps to improve patient satisfaction and become more hospitable?

What does hospitality look like in healthcare?

While some hospitals have invested significantly in hospitality, including grand atriums with waterfalls, artwork, music and gourmet food, many are faced with what are widely recognized as “razor thin’’ margins, making such investments an additional financial burden. [1]

But for many patients, hospitality is linked to the care and concern they receive from the people they encounter during their patient journey. It is often those basics, experienced at a time of vulnerability, that enhance their levels of comfort and patient satisfaction.

Without that “hospitality,” patients may receive the medical treatment they need but can be left feeling ‘’depersonalized and alienated’’ with their overall treatment.

Above all, hospitality is most apparent in ‘‘the listening’’ to patient narratives by healthcare professionals and the emotional connections that emerge from that listening. [3]

Hospitality in healthcare lies in ‘’the listening’’ to patient narratives by healthcare professionals. Click To Tweet

Hospitality reduces the risk of readmissions

There are further, demonstrable benefits to giving your patients a voice and enabling the patient narrative.

Improving patient satisfaction with a better patient experience offers additional benefits beyond higher HCAHPS scores and higher value based reimbursements. A 2018 study found that inpatient care comprises nearly a third of US healthcare expenditure but around 15-20% of this care could be prevented. A 2018 study suggests that an enhanced patient experience reduces the risk of readmissions. [4]

Participants who reported that doctors ‘‘always listened to them carefully’’ were less likely to be readmitted. High satisfaction and good provider communication therefore led to lower rates of readmissions.

Is there an innovative tool available to enable this listening and enhance hospitality and patient satisfaction in your hospital?

Giving your patients a voice in real-time

iSUGEZT – innovation from VIE Healthcare® Consulting

A leader in healthcare cost reduction strategies, VIE Healthcare, has developed an innovative tool to tap into the patient narrative and enabling ‘’listening’’ and hospitality.

The simple to use iSUGEZT app empowers hospital executives to address potential issues in the patient experience while those patients are onsite at your hospital.

It is easily downloaded by your patients and their families on admission, providing them with a confidential platform to raise concerns, provide suggestions and offer praise in real-time.

iSUGEZT can enhance the levels of hospitality and patient satisfaction in your hospital by opening a direct line of communication between you and your patients.

Discover the power of iSUGEZT for your hospital.


[1] Hospitality, not medical care, key to patient satisfaction https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2020/02/hospitality-not-medical-care-key-patient-satisfaction

[2] https://www.hii.iu.edu/hospitality-in-healthcare/

[3] Kelly, Rosalind & Losekoot, Erwin & Wright-St Clair, Valerie. (2016). Hospitality in hospitals: The importance of caring about the patient. Hospitality & Society. 6. 113-129. 10.1386/hosp.6.2.113_1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305648317_Hospitality_in_hospitals_The_importance_of_caring_about_the_patient

[4] The association between patient experience factors and likelihood of 30-day readmission: a prospective cohort study Jocelyn Carter, Charlotte Ward, Deborah Wexler, Karen Donelan http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjqs-2017-007184