Service Excellence: It’s Not Just for Hotels Anymore

By Johnie Carr
Director of Operations
Commitment to Excellence & Support Services

OK, admit it, you like to be catered to, don’t you? C’mon, it’s OK to say it. You love it when people call you “sir” or “ma’am,” right? It feels great to have someone acknowledge you by name when you walk into a restaurant and ask, “Will it be the usual?” and you respond, “Why yes, make it the usual!”

The truth of the matter is that we all enjoy receiving great service. If you frequent hotels, then you’re probably used to receiving such service. In fact, I’d venture to say that you even expect it. So, I was thinking about this the other day, and I wondered, what kind of service do people expect when they visit a hospital?

When you stay at a hotel, you can pay anywhere from $150 to $800 a night. By contrast, when you stay at a hospital, you can pay upwards of $1,200 a night, and that doesn’t even include those little soap and lotion bottles. For most people, there is already a high level of anxiety around having to visit or stay at a hospital. I don’t think anyone would argue that something about that needs to change.

That’s why at the University of Maryland Medical Center, we’ve embarked on a journey to transform the patient experience by providing the safest care anywhere, exceeding customer expectations and becoming an even greater place to work. It is a strategic engagement that we call “Commitment to Excellence” (C2X), and it is the distinctive way that we care for our patients, our guests and for one another at UMMC.

Commitment to Excellence is a personal commitment made by every UMMC employee to help build and sustain a culture of excellence across our organization. To support this, we have developed the UMMC Pillars of Excellence: People, Service, Safety & Quality, Stewardship and Innovation. These pillars represent the foundation of our relentless focus to provide information, courtesy and responsiveness to every patient and guest.

Through employee engagement and empowerment, reward and recognition for providing great service, associate training education and development and surveying our guests, we are working hard to create an environment of service excellence that is second to none.

Our hope is that the next time you choose to visit our medical center, you will personally experience this culture of patient-focused care and commitment to excellence. Service excellence … it’s not just for hotels anymore.

I’d love to hear about your service experience at the Medical Center. You can contact me via e-mail — — or phone — 410-328-0027.

7 thoughts on “Service Excellence: It’s Not Just for Hotels Anymore

  1. Great post Johnie! I am so happy to see you bring the HOSPITAL in Hospitality to the table. I know we can OUTSHINE any of our competitors! We must remain focus on C2X… C2X is a verb!!!

  2. Thank you cousin Johnnie (i am Bernice Peterson’s sister daughter of Ruth Gould). this is a great
    article. i too work in the health care system (Main Line Health in suburban Philadelphia). this has been our goal for the last two years. our moto is to have a great patient experience. i will forward this to my director. the employee piece of our moto is not being fulfilled. we are working on getting employees to be engaged.

  3. Great Job Nephew. Whatever It Takes…for Commitment to Excellent is much appreciated and expected by all patients, visitors and external stakeholders. I’m sure with your leadership, the UMMC will be the leading force in the industry and one to mimick for success. Here’s to C2X at the UMMC!


  4. Hi Johnie, great article. You really remind us of the anxiety we and our loved ones face when in the hospital. In keeping with your hotel example, patients often wonder why they can book a room in a hotel, more or less “name their price,” pay for the extras only if they wish, and upon checkout, be given a statement with the exact charges listed, but when it comes to their hospital stay most of that does not apply. Thanks for showing us we have a long ways to go, but also encouraging us and showing us how to get there. Keep making a difference!

  5. I would think that a commitment like this one would mean that if a patient is scheduled for a surgical procedure in which they are required to stay overnight, then the hospital would be sure to have enough rooms. My husband had surgery today and is still in the recovery area because there is no room available for him to stay in. He will not get the rest that he needs because it is loud in that area. We were also told that I would be able to stay in his room so I didn’t make arrangements to make the 2 1/2 hour drive home, they informed me at 10 tonight that there would be no room and I would be sleeping in the waiting room. If a hotel treated me like this, I would demand a refund of my money….guess it’s not the same as a hotel is it?

  6. Greetings Mrs. Knox,

    Thank you for the feedback regarding your recent experience at our medical center. We value such candor because it helps us to specifically identify and address patient and family irritants. I appreciate that this was a frustrating experience for you and your husband and I am deeply sorry that a room was not immediately available.

    Unfortunately, our surgical volumes can at times create challenges with bed availability, which is not uncommon in a large academic medical center. In health care it is important that the appropriate level of care accompanies the room so that the specific health care needs of the patient are addressed. I can assure you that although we were not immediately successful, we worked very hard to locate the right bed on a unit with staff who had the appropriate clinical competencies to care for your husband based on his health care needs. Our priority is always focused on the care and safety of our patients, which is why we took care to keep your husband in the area where he was until we were able to locate the right bed for him.

    As committed to excellence as we are, there are times when we simply miss the mark. However, we have adopted a philosophy that when we don’t get it right, we’ll work twice as hard to make it right. To that end, we will take your feedback and use it to help improve our patients’ and family members’ experiences when faced with similar situations in the future. We will also reach out to you personally to apologize for not meeting your expectations.

    Once again, thank you for your feedback and thank you for trusting the University of Maryland Medical Center with your health care needs.

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