Transforming healthcare service environments: A sensory-based approach

Sheau Fen (Crystal) Yap, Megan Phillips, Euejung Hwang*, Yingzi Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Purpose: Healthcare service is a process that comprises a series of touchpoints underlying the key facets of service delivery, collectively shaping the users' (i.e. patients, hospital staff, and visitors) experiences. Departing from most sensory studies dedicated to understanding the retail environment and hedonic service, this study focuses on how sensory knowledge can contribute to understanding the sensory-based experiences of hospital users and their interactions with healthcare services at multiple touchpoints. 

Design/methodology/approach: This study employs a multi-method approach comprising two studies involving semi-structured interviews and a qualitative online survey of past patients. 

Findings: Drawing upon the user-centered theory, the authors (1) consulted healthcare experts on hospital service touchpoints and standards around medical protocol; (2) explored users' needs, experiences, expectations, and evaluations of healthcare services; and (3) identified the issues and challenges faced by healthcare service users at various service touchpoints. Based on these insights, the authors proposed sensory tactics across healthcare service touchpoints that promote the well-being of major hospital users. 

Research limitations/implications: The proposed sensory tactics require follow-up empirical evidence. Future research could adopt robust methodological designs on healthcare environmental interventions and progress with a transdisciplinary approach to advance this research area. 

Practical implications: The authors' experience-based framework forms the basis of a valuable toolkit for healthcare service management. 

Originality/value: This study advances services literature by integrating sense-based marketing knowledge with healthcare service research to understand the dynamic and interactive relationship between hospital users and the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-700
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Service Theory and Practice
Issue number5
Early online date9 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • healthcare service
  • healthscape
  • services marketing


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