5 hospitals taking unique approaches to improving the patient experience

With increasing care options, more of the patient's money at stake and payers rewarding providers based upon patient satisfaction surveys, the patient experience has never been more important for hospitals.

In a recent article from the U.S. News & World Report, Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety policy of the American Hospital Association, said, "For a hospital, [the patient experience] is more than just a business imperative. Hospitals and other healthcare providers have a special role of serving patients and their families at some of the most challenging and critical times of their lives. Creating a soothing environment, engaging patients and family members in care decisions, enabling patients to have the support of family members and other loved ones at these times of great stress and ensuring they feel supported, informed and engaged is not only the right thing to do, it has been shown to promote healing."

Here are five hospitals that have taken unique measures to improve the patient experience, according to U.S. News & World Report.

1. Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. The maternity ward at Lenox Hill provides various amenities to new parents like chocolate covered strawberries and champagne to celebrate the birth of a child. Also, new parents have the option of having a candlelit dinner at the facility while hospital staffers care for the new baby. This hospital also provides patients with access to art and music therapy.

2. Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City. Intermountain is developing new hospital rooms to allow patients a more customizable care experience. The rooms will come equipped with an electronic tablet that will allow patients to do a variety of things, including control the room temperature, call a nurse or watch an educational video about their diagnosis and treatment.

3. Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington D.C. Artist and musician Yoko Sen designed a tranquility room at Sibley Memorial for clinicians. The room features soothing music, aromatherapy and images of stars projected onto a curtain. The impetus behind the room's creation was to create a better environment for patients by ensuring the staff is well rested. Within the next year, hospital officials plan on providing a portable kit to patients to allow them to create their own tranquil experience.

4. Baptist St. Anthony's Hospital in Amarillo, Texas. Just this month, staffers at Baptist St. Anthony's organized a wedding for a man dying of leukemia. The patient was married in his hospital bed. He died 36 hours later.

5. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. Recently, this hospital also fulfilled the wish a terminally ill cancer patient by hosting a wedding for him and his long-time girlfriend. The hospital staff filled a charting room in the oncology wing with flowers and provided the bride with a bouquet and veil. The patient died 10 days later. The patient's family shared pictures with the staff, along with a note expressing gratitude for the service.

More articles on quality:
769 hospitals see Medicare payments cut over high HAC rates: 7 things to know 
Yelp and patient experience — the value of unstructured reviews 
Patient safety efforts save thousands of lives in Pennsylvania since 2004

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