The race to provide optimal customer-centric health care has begun and one need only look at how service is provided to realize how stiff the competition is. U.S. hospitals have shifted from being institutional buildings to landmarks of hope for those who need care. Service has evolved from a straightforward, clinical doctor-patient consultative relationship to comprehensive care that addresses both the physical and mental well-being of patients.

Despite the increasing emphasis on customer service, beautiful architectural details, sprawling green space outdoors, privacy of patient rooms, and catered services, both hospitals and hotels remain challenged by the spread of viruses and bacteria, and increasing attention is being given to the study of microbes and the eradication of potentially harmful organisms.

Paradoxically, environmental services (ES) personnel — the first line of defense against contamination — often receive the least amount of investment. In the last decade, the rise in superbugs and harder-to-contain viruses is just one example of an opportunity to promote change by giving ES personnel more education and support and providing the profession with a more scientific and technical look.

Both hotels and hospitals will benefit by upholding the evidence-based disinfection and cleaning principles that can prevent a viral or bacterial outbreak.