Industry Update
Opinion Article22 September 2020

From Ritz-Carlton to Healthcare: Hotels Bridging Healthcare (H2H) for New Career Opportunities

By Fred DeMicco, Executive Director and Professor in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University

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As more health care facilities grow to become "medical campuses" and medical meccas for care, they emulate hotels in their quality and delivery of health and wellness (H2H) services. Many build hotels or have partner hotels for medical guests and tourists on their health campuses. An innovative approach for blending hospitality and health care can be found in Orlando, where the RosenCare model could boost lodging revenue by using medical travel to the United States. In fact, in medical centers and hospitals, after the procedure (surgery or other treatment), approximately 75% of the services provided to patients are hospitality/hotel-related services (H2H) including dining, environmental, transportation, front desk, educational, and entertainment services (Figure 1).


And, for example, medical centers may add wellness classes, culinary education, and spa operations, develop on campus hotels (for Medical Tourism/Travel) which hospitality school graduates should be prepared to oversee. In addition, more Lodging professionals are becoming GMs of the entire health care campus enterprise who lead not only the traditional hospital facilities but also the hotel(s), spa, and wellness services, environmental services (e.g., housekeeping); transportation services; parking, valet services; gift shops; employee markets; the grounds; snow removal; well-being education; and all dining venues, including room services (Figure 2). This is usually a vice president (VP) position on the health care campus and can provide challenge, excitement, personal fulfillment of caring, and very good pay and benefits in the six-figure salary range. In sum, hospitality schools prepare graduates to be GMs of hotels, and now graduates should think of becoming GMs/VPs of the health care (nonmedical) operations and H2H patient/guest services in the future (Figure 2 below).

See the interview with a former Ritz Carlton executive below.

Figure 2

The Opportunity for a New Campus Major: H2H

This is clearly a field for hospitality, business, and health care graduates that provides challenge and growth opportunities well into the future. Therefore, a new major on campuses that concentrates on hospitality bridging health care prepares graduates for a growing field, and a challenging career holds outstanding opportunities for future graduates of hotel and restaurant management schools and departments.

FOCUS ON CAREERS: One on One (1 0 1)

Interview in 2020

Please meet John Timmerman, Ph.D., Vice President of Operations at Mercy St. Louis Hospitals and formerly of Marriott International and of Ritz Carlton.

Dr. John Timmerman, is Mercy's Vice President of Operations, is a recognized expert in creating outstanding customer and patient experiences by integrating business plans with cultural systems and technologies.

Q & A with Dr. Frederick DeMicco, Executive Director and Professor of the School Hotel and Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University.

Fred DeMicco: John, you are a great example of someone coming from a previous successful hotel background with Marriott and Ritz Carlton and moving into the Medical industry, in what we call Hospitality Bridging Healthcare (H2H™) sector. Please tell me about your medical operations.
John Timmerman: Mercy has over 40 hospitals across Missouri, Oklahoma, Alaska, and Illinois. Our Headquarters is in Saint Louis.

Fred DeMicco: Tell me about your job responsibilities at Mercy Healthcare?
John Timmerman: I work at our largest hospital where I manage a multi billion dollar operation across Clinical (Cardiology, Vascular, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Oncology & Holistic Health), Ancillary (Respiratory, Cardiac Rehab, Audiology, Sleep Lab, & Pulmonary Function), and Support (Lean, Patient Experience, Environmental & Food Services). A part of my job is to; "reinvent healthcare".

Some Background on John Timmerman
Before joining Mercy, John served as the Chief Scientist for Gallup, Quality Advisor for The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Corporate Vice President of Operations & Quality for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and Global Vice President of Guest Experience & Operations for Marriott's portfolio of more than 3,700 hotels worldwide.

A recognized thought leader in the science of service, John has presented hundreds of lectures and consultations on designing customer-centric organizations across a globally diverse range of industries and enjoys developing new leaders and has served as Adjunct Professor at the University of Delaware and RIT Dubai. John is the former Chairman of the American Society for Quality, which serves more than 70,000 quality professionals in 140 countries, and he is a former Senior Examiner & Judging Chair for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

John received his bachelor's degree with honors from the University of Delaware (where Dr. Fred DeMicco was the Chair of HRIM), his master's degree is from the Rochester Institute of Technology (Service Innovation Thesis), and his doctorate is from Iowa State University (Structural Equation Modeling Dissertation.) Before starting his career, John served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a 2nd Force Reconnaissance Marine and personal protection for the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.

The preplanning of the medical journey leading up to the arrival at the medical/health/wellness destination begins a cascade of multiple H2H services to create a holistic and satisfying experience for the patient/guest. This can lead to long-lasting loyalty if performance in the entirety of the process is at the highest level. Hospitality and health care services will play a critical role for success. Graduates of hospitality programs, hotel schools or coming from the lodging industry focusing on this intersection of H2H will be rewarded with challenging, satisfying, and lucrative careers. The path forward includes developing a core competency, a curriculum, and courses for this promising new career track. It will be an intersection of business management, health care administration, and hotel/hospitality business management theory and practice with industry hands-on learning.

Hospitality Bridging Healthcare or H2H services can create a satisfying experience for the patient/guest, which can lead to long-lasting loyalty. Hospitality and health care services will play a critical role for success in the entirety of the process. University graduates of hotel and hospitality schools that focus on this intersection of H2H will be rewarded with a growth oriented, challenging, and lucrative careers. This career will be an intersection of business management, health care administration, and hotel/hospitality business management theory and practice with an appropriate industry experience with hands-on learning in the hospitals, health care, and medical centers.

DeMicco, F. J. (2016). Hospitality bridging healthcare (H2H): Medical tourism and wellness. Apple Academic Press.

Fred DeMicco

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