Concierge Care - Part II, Take Baby Steps

Part II in the concierge care series...If you don't yet have a concierge staff, take baby steps:

1. Implement a Comprehensive Guest Relations/Patient Advocate Program. Hopefully step 1 is already done - you should have a PA/GR Associate on each floor, or rounding on each medical floor for a shift emphasizing JCAHO programs including the pre-surgery timeout and the Speak Up! program. Greeters/Guest Relations Associates can also assist volunteers staffing main entrances, or man these entrances. St. Mary's Hospital of Maryland has an excellent Guest Relations/Patient Advocate Program in the ED/Fast Track environment.

2. Provide Community Information at Main Entrance Desks, in the Gift Shop, etc. Can your front entrance staff/volunteers assist with hotel arrangements? Do you have a partnership with an area hotel chain for discounted rates for staff, patients, families, etc.? Does the staff have a list of public transportation that stops at/near the hospital grounds? Can they quote or find times transportation arrives? Does the staff have directions to the nearest airport? Can they provide a list of restaurants within walking/driving distance of the hospital? Anne Ziegler, editor of FierceHealthcare, mentions USC University staff's ability to "arrange hotels or long-term housing, transportation to and from airports, car rentals, business services, personal care services like spa and hairdressing appointments and even help with tourism and entertainment."

3. Communicate Information about Health/Wellness Programs. Advertise, mention in your newsletter, have local press visit for a reporter's "day of health" to include carpal tunnel, eye strain, ergonomics, stress/sleep/eat assessments, etc. Quickest way to show what you can do is involve someone who can spread the word. This is also a good opportunity to involve younger/newer medical staff and promote internal leadership development.

4. Perform a Competitive Market Evaluation Examining Executive/Concierge Services in Your Geographic Area. Take a close look at service lines and opportunities based on your hospital's particlar patient population and positioning. Do you see military families? Consider offerings like a Stars and Stripes Military Family Day, with activities and offerings like child vaccinations, physicals for Mom, and flight physicals for Dad. If your hospital isn't located near a large municipality but a few colleges and universities, consider doing a Faculty/Staff wellness day, with wait times mitigated by mini-breakout sessions on conflict resolution, spotting the troubled student, etc.

These are rough-and-tumble suggestions, but the entire goal is to make sure your hospital is serving the needs of the community, and building a reputation as a trusted partner in wellness management.

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