Phoebe Hospital wants to WOW patients

Phoebe Putney E/R

You may not think a night in the hospital has much in common with a night in an exclusive hotel but Phoebe Putney Memorial is out to change that. Phoebe Putney is one of the largest hospitals in Georgia and one of the biggest employers in Southwest Georgia. It's big business but hospital officials say it's the small stuff patients remember most.

"In every interaction with a patient, we want to have an opportunity to be able to WOW them," said Maureen Jackson of Phoebe Putney.

WOW stands for welcome, over-communicate, and warm and fuzzy and Maureen Jackson says it's the new standard for customer service at Phoebe Memorial. Jackson and Director of the Phoebe Experience Lacy Lee introduced the WOW program to Phoebe's Board of Directors on Wednesday. "With healthcare, people are coming here now and they're having to pay more out of pocket and they are coming with a different set of expectations," said Lee.

The program seeks to provide patients more of a hotel experience, with keepsake blankets for all new mothers, caregiver kits, and even warm cookies and milk. There's also a special phone number â" 3121WOW â" for any unexpected patient needs."The nurses are probably more excited about that than anything I've seen in a long time because it's going to make their life easier," said Jackson.

Phoebe officials say they were surprised that so many patients told them that the most important thing about their stay in the hospital wasn't the level of care they received but how well their family members were treated. "If you're wanting to stay in this room and not leave, we have a way that we can have you be able to order and have a meal brought to you, just like the patient," said Lee.

Training for the WOW program has already begun for a start date of April 1st. It's limited to Phoebe Putney for now but officials say it will eventually be expanded to include the new Phoebe North and Phoebe Sumter.