UD Lerner MBAs improve patient outcomes

Nurse talking to mother and daughter

You probably wouldn’t equate a hospital stay with a relaxing hotel getaway. 

“Hospitals are not hotels,” said Ali Poorani, associate professor in the University of Delaware’s   Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, “But there are many opportunities for both industries to benchmark and learn from each other.”

The Lerner College’s.  new    MBA major in healthcare management prepares students for careers in an ever-changing healthcare landscape by exploring the intersection of patient care and hospitality services.

“Other programs focus solely on the business side,” Poorani said. “This is a unique program that combines healthcare and hospitality.”

Studies indicate that medical treatment accounts for nearly one-quarter of a patient’s overall experience during a typical hospital stay; the remaining 75 percent involves hospitality auxiliary services. From receiving incoming patients to delivering quality meals and providing comfortable amenities for patients and visitors, a hospital visit requires many tasks more commonly associated with the hotel industry.


Poorani was inspired to develop the program after the remarkable success of the   Patient Experience Academy   (PEA), a joint effort between the Lerner College and Christiana Care Health System designed to educate healthcare providers on the emotional and environmental aspects of patient care.

Participants attended a series of training sessions on proven hospitality concepts that were specifically adapted for patient care. Within the first year of the PEA, Christiana Care saw a significant increase in patient satisfaction scores, particularly in the areas of teamwork, respect and helpfulness. Since its inception in June 2015, the PEA has graduated over 1,000 Christiana Care employees.

“After seeing the impressive results of the Patient Experience Academy, we realized there was a unique opportunity to create a niche with the development of the healthcare major,” Poorani said. 

The MBA Major in Healthcare Management is an interdisciplinary effort between the Lerner College’s Department of Hospitality Business Management and UD’s College of Health Sciences.

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