The Customer Experience – Hospital Style—August 24, 2012

My big sister had THR (Total Hip Replacement) surgery on Tuesday at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in Manhattan. I was her driver and extra set of ears (along with my younger sister as well). I am, most fortunately, a stranger to the hospital experience so I arrived as a tourist and got to notice how everything was being done.

This was a 5-star experience. It started with crystal clear signage.


In the Family Atrium, an airy, nicely furnished space with a spectacular view of the East River, we were given a printed notecard explaining precisely when visiting hours were for post-op patients. You were allowed 15 minutes, max! It’s important for the patient to rest, it explained, so visits are kept short and only one ‘representative’ per family is allowed bedside at any time. We were escorted into the recovery area and out again at the end of the 15 minutes.

When I came back for my 15-minute visit later that day, I again went to the Family Atrium where registered visitors’ names were clearly listed. We were given yellow gowns to wear over our street clothes and hand sanitizing liquid to clean off germs. I never had to explain who I was or which patient I was there to see. Their records and systems are so precise that I felt like a guest in a fancy hotel.

Of course, all of this is moot if the staff isn’t top-notch as well. They were spectacular. Before the surgery, no fewer than six professionals came by my sister’s bed to measure different vital signs, help her into special stockings which would keep the swelling down, attach her IV, etc. Everyone was courteous, personable (self-introductions and handshakes to the patient and me as well) and informative. The surgery went flawlessly, and my sister was very comfortable immediately after the operation and even better the next day.

HSS deserves an A+ for getting it all right–especially my sister’s hip.

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