With so much emphasis on the patient experience, it’s no wonder that hospitality-like amenities, environments, and services are finding a home in healthcare.

A study by Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers reports 72 percent of consumers ranked personal experience as a main factor when choosing a medical provider. Patients today know they have options and providers are on notice to deliver a higher level of personalized service and satisfaction or risk losing loyalty and ultimately revenue.

We’ve seen this treatment applied to healthcare design via layouts, furnishings, and materials selection. But what about food service?

When Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital (MNH) opened in Singapore last summer, the goal was to deliver “the hospital of the future at a Four Seasons,” says Shiva Mendez, senior medical planner, HOK (San Francisco), which provided architecture and design services on the project in conjunction with executive architect CIAP (Singapore).

That focus was applied throughout the project, from the interior furnishings to the staff uniforms, and particularly in the kitchens. Yes, there’s more than one. In fact, to ensure that the quality of the inpatient dining experience was the best, bar none, and that rice, noodles, and fresh vegetables are delivered at the right temperature and consistently, HOK was asked to design functional kitchens on each patient floor.

These roughly 250-square-foot spaces come complete with steamers, fryers, and washing facilities, while dumbwaiters deliver raw ingredients to each location. “All the prep cooking is done downstairs and all the finish cooking is done upstairs for the freshest plating and delivery,” Mendez says.

The attention to detail goes a step further on the VIP floors, which are home to butler pantries and 24-hour on-demand food service.  So why go to such lengths, especially when that effort comes with such a price tag—specifically costs for food lifts, butler services, and additional square footage?

For MNH, it’s part of knowing and serving your audience, says Kelvin Loh, CEO, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, which is owned by one of Asia’s largest private healthcare providers, Parkway Pantai Ltd. “Our patients come first, and having a patient-centric service ethos ensures that we provide the best possible treatment and environment for them to heal.”

As patients are presented with an ever-increasing array of healthcare choices, and competition among providers heats up, MENH gives us some food for thought.

More on this project will be shared in a fall issue of Healthcare Design magazine.