Years ago it was a fairly common refrain to hear people tell you the key to a happy life was to avoid discussions with anybody except close personal friends regarding religion, sex and politics. Getting into a conversation about the pros and cons of today’s Canadian Health care system could almost be added to the list.
Notwithstanding the advice, one area that I find intriguing is the changes taking place at Winnipeg’s Health Science Centre (HSC). My observations aren’t about the medical personnel that make their living there, but more about the obvious changes (for the better) that are taking place with the actual facility. Having grown up with a mother who taught nursing at St. Boniface Hospital, I have vivid memories of the temporary entrance at St. B that ended up lasting 30 years. It was a dreadful entrance that started the whole hospital experience on the wrong foot. After navigating the hordes of smokers at the door, you ended up in a dank, small reception area. This of course has been rebuilt, and the new entrance and Everett Atrium common area at St. Boniface is quite impressive. It seems that the patient/customer experience matters after all.
HSC seems to have gotten the same Memo as St.Boniface Hospital. Having spent the past 4 weeks visiting a family member recuperating at HSC, I am quietly impressed by the grand foyer stretching from the recently opened CanadInn Hotel (which also has the nicest Starbucks in Winnipeg in its lobby) to the new entrance underneath the Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine. Gone is the old institutional look. Halogen lighting and floor to ceiling windows in the commercial space gives an impressive feel that welcomes comfort and contemplation. Amenities such as a pharmacy, gift shop, flower shop and soon to be opened wellness marketplace will only add to the experience for both patient and family visitor. The elliptical gallery and display area on the way to the elevators is often filled with both patients and relatives in conversation. In a sense, a place to meet, talk, cry and laugh – finally.
Hospitals are serious places – and HSC is Winnipeg’s biggest. While many may still dispute that our health care facilities are changing, it is apparent to anybody spending time at HSC that the dour institutional look of yesteryear is rapidly being replace with a more patient and visitor friendly facility.
My question is this. What is your Winnipeg business doing to upgrade your customers’ experience? Our much maligned health care facilities are obviously taking steps to address the issue – are you doing the same in your business?