Share this article on:

Academic Medicine Amenities Unit: Developing a Model to Integrate Academic Medical Care With Luxury Hotel Services

Kennedy, David W. MD; Kagan, Sarah H. PhD, RN; Abramson, Kelly Brennen RN, MSN; Boberick, Cheryl RN; Kaiser, Larry R. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181940705
Institutional Issues

The interface between established values of academic medicine and the trend toward inpatient amenities units requires close examination. Opinions of such units can be polarized, reflecting traditional reservations about the ethical dilemma of offering exclusive services only to an elite patient group. An amenities unit was developed at the University of Pennsylvania Health System in 2007, using an approach that integrated academic medicine values with the benefits of philanthropy and service excellence to make amenities unit services available to all patients. Given inherent internal political concerns, a broadly based steering committee of academic and hospital leadership was developed. An academically appropriate model was conceived, anchored by four principles: (1) integration of academic values, (2) interdisciplinary senior leadership, (3) service excellence, and (4) recalibrated occupancy expectations based on multiple revenue streams.

Foremost is ensuring the same health care is afforded all patients throughout the hospital, thereby overcoming ethical challenges and optimizing teaching experiences. Service excellence frames the service ethic for all staff, and this, in addition to luxury hotel-style amenities, differentiates the style and feel of the unit from others in the hospital. Recalibrated occupancy creates program viability given revenue streams redefined to encompass gifts and patient revenue, including both reimbursement and self-pay. The medical–surgical amenities patient-care unit has enjoyed a successful first year and a growing stream of returning patients and admitting physicians. Implications for other academic medical centers include opportunities to extrapolate service excellence throughout the hospital and to cultivate philanthropy to benefit services throughout the medical center.

Dr. Kennedy is professor of otorhinolaryngology: head and neck surgery and medical director of patient facilitated services, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and president, American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Alexandria, Virginia.

Dr. Kagan is professor of gerontological nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and senior clinical nurse specialist, Abramson Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Abramson is administrative director, Patient Facilitated Services Program and International Programs, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Boberick is director, Patient Facilitated Services Program, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Kaiser is president, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, Houston, Texas.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Kennedy, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, 3400 Spruce Street, Ravdin 5, Philadelphia, PA 19104; telephone: (215) 662-2653; fax: (215) 662-2939; e-mail: (

© 2009 Association of American Medical Colleges