"It's much homier," she said. "They offer a lot of opportunities to get out of the hospital room, so I was able to spend time outside the room so I wasn't cooped up.
"They also had sleeper beds in every room, so my parents were able to stay with me, which made it comforting so I could get through the night."
The hospital also has special "teen rooms" where there are computers and video games, as well as family rooms that feature full kitchens, a TV room and other amenities.
Komai was also grateful for the sharper needles the hospitals used, avoiding repeated pricking with blood draws because of inadequate blood return.
"It was a lot less painful," she said.
Other hospitals now offer other patient--friendly options, such as Massachusetts General Hospital's new wing of single-occupancy rooms that provides privacy.
"The staff commented on the first day here, how the use of pain and sleeping meds had dropped because of the use of single rooms," said Jean Fahey, a senior clinical nurse specialist in the neuroscience unit.
But perhaps the biggest sign that the times are changing is what has transpired at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. There, efforts to improve the patient experience have managed to change the age-old practice of physician "rounds," or the daily gathering when doctors discuss a patient's care.
Dr. Jeffrey Schlaudecker learned several years ago from his wife -- then a chief resident in pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital -- that when doctors discussed the care of children, the families were invited to listen in.
This was not the case in adult medicine, where the doctors would talk amongst themselves and relay requests to the nursing staff, who in turn would tell the clinical assistants what was needed. At some point, the patient would hear what was happening to them, however garbled the message had become.
"I spent a couple of days with experts at the kids' hospital," said Dr. Schlaudecker, a geriatrician. "We were chit-chatting about the similar situations that families are in. In pediatrics and geriatrics, families are faced with a new situation and new diagnosis. There's a lack of information but still a desire to know what's going on."
So they started inviting the families to join them. Instead of rushed updates on a patient's disease, half-answered questions about changing medications, and confusion over test results, the team staged a daily group conversation involving the doctors, nurses, the patient and their family.
There were initial worries about time constraints and efficiency in the busy world of the hospital, but in the end, it was the right call.
"The model allows for stronger bond between doctors, nurses and families," said Schlaudecker, who also emphasizes the advantage of the new model in educating young doctors, "Putting the intern doctors at the bedside, presenting the information and the plan, I think it's better teaching. It's safer care, and just better care."
Preliminary data show that the new strategy is working as well. More than 90 percent of doctors and nurses Schlaudecker surveyed felt that rounding with the patients and families was an improvement over the old system.
For Komai, the experience of receiving treatment in an environment that felt much more like a home and a lot less like a hospital helped her endure nearly a year of chemotherapy and beat her cancer.
"I think that it's good for other people who are going through very tough situations to not have to deal with being in an uncomfortable place," she said. "That should be the least of their worries at times like these in their lives."