Ijeoma Kareem of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi about winning big at the Hospitality Assured awards and how the standard has had a positive effect throughout the hospital.

Back in June 2016, the Hospitality Assured awards rewarded and showcased industry best practices, but for Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi it was more than just a couple of awards that they have been celebrating.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi had six departments individually accredited by Hospitality Assured – Food Services, Patient Support Services, Protective Services, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, General Services, and the Caregiver fitness facility, Layaqa. The hospital continues to demonstrate a commitment to delivering not only excellent clinical care for patients, but also exceptional end-to-end services. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s dedication to the entire patient experience was what led them to apply for the Hospitality Assured Awards, knowing the importance of hospitality for their patients and for setting standards in the industry.

The awards ceremony  saw them win the ‘Best International Newcomers’ awards as well as Ijeoma Kareem, Analyst, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, being named ‘Hospitality Assured Champion.’

We recently caught up with Ijeoma who discussed winning the awards and the impact that Hospitality Assured has made on Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

How have you used Hospitality Assured to impact your day to day business and what are the benefits you have noticed?

The Hospitality Assured standards have been very applicable to our daily operations, from looking at the standards related to service delivery and customer satisfaction, to the business/employee relations at the back end that drive our operations. Reviewing each of the standards against our processes and assessing whether it is happening, whether it’s systematic and if it is effective has challenged us to continuously seek out potential areas for improvement, strive for consistency in service delivery, and more importantly, validate our processes by measuring its effectiveness. Being a very young organization, this has been a very useful tool for us in standardizing hospitality practices across the board and also in the ongoing effort toward the continuous improvement of our services.

Winning big at the awards was a result of your good work, but what do those awards mean to the business as a whole?

At Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi we offer world-class, complex medical services with an unwavering focus on the  patient experience at every step of their journey. To be awarded “Best International Newcomers” by a standard that recognizes leaders in the competitive field of hospitality is a huge compliment to the other accolades awarded to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The HA standards are perfectly aligned with our organizational values – Quality, Service, Stewardship, to mention a few, and being recognized as top achievers further validates that, as a business, we are fulfilling the mission, vision and values of our organization.

What are the future plans with Hospitality Assured? Do you plan to use the results to further improve or even implement new strategy?

We have reviewed the April reports and are working on implementing new strategies as the business prepares for reaccreditation next year. We have adopted a stronger collaborative approach, tapping into the skill sets of one another and through sharing of both in-house and external best practices we hope to reposition ourselves for better scores next year. We plan to reaccredit annually with the aim to have some of these best practices ingrained in the core of our everyday business operations.

In your opinion, how important is it to have a standard ensuring excellence such as HA in the industry?

I always refer to the HA standards as a very useful generic business improvement tool that keeps a business aligned with its objectives. What I like most about HA is that it is a framework that focuses on the patients/customers. It looks at how we can make small changes across the various aspects of our business to enhance our patient experience and that is our ultimate goal here at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

I also like that the HA standards are not prescriptive, rather they encourage you to look at the relevant areas of your business and challenges you to push the boundaries of your measure of success and achieve more. This in turn ensures that we as business do not remain lukewarm and continue to raise the bar as leaders in our industry.