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What Does The Future Look Like?

To see the future of facility design, I tell my hospital CEO friends, they should spend substantially more time in an Apple store than in some hospital lobby.

Why is it, do you think, that 30 minutes after a mall opens for business, the Apple store is packed and rocking while a dozen thrown bowling balls would not conk a single customer in the mall's more pedestrian stores?

And if YOU, dear health care leader, think you have nothing to learn from Apple's retail presence YOU'VE not been paying attention...or reading all the wrong blogs.  Now it's your problem to determine which. 

Can the ideas translate beyond Apple? We're about to find out as Ron Johnson, engineer of Apple's winning retail strategy, takes the CEO role at J.C. Penny's.

But translate as far as healthcare?  Egads!

At Apple, Johnson designed a "...retail experience that was consistent with the products and delivered lots of information. The focus was on discovery, entertainment, atmospherics and design. Apple had a one-trick pony that worked great."

Hmmm.  Let's think about this for a moment.  Discovery...entertainment...atmospherics...design.  Nah.  Nobody in health care wants THOSE things, do they?

People want to LEARN about their health?  The DISCOVERY journey matters?  Being ENTERTAINED along the way?  The DESIGN environment matters...a LOT?

With a Genius Bar staffed by scary-smart kids instead of sleepy volunteers?  (And I love volunteers, God Bless 'Em!  The problem is that too many hospitals throw them into the fray as essential, core customer service staffing when, if customer service matters at all, if it contributes to concrete bottom-line benefits, it should be FUNDED as if it does, not on the cheap.)

Geez.  If discovery, entertainment, atmospherics and design actually mattered, you'd think they'd be on the ACHE exam!

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