A Growing Body of Research Shows Meal Ordering Technology Improves Patient Intake

Three recently-published studies provide further evidence of the benefits achievable when hospitals employ technology in patient food service.

CBORD innovations such as Room Service Choice and the CBORD Patient app are expected to play a larger role as hospitals begin to rethink how they receive and deliver patient meal orders. It is now becoming evident that a few simple changes can result in improved health outcomes for patients, and lower costs for healthcare organizations.

In short, patients eat more and hospitals spend less.

Here’s a summary of the latest research:

Engaging the patient: improving dietary intake and meal experience through bedside terminal meal ordering for oncology patients

This study1, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, compared patients ordering their own meals via a paper menu (PM) to patients ordering meals using an electronic Bedside Meal Ordering System (BMOS). Results showed statistically significant increases in nutritional intake as well as improvements in the patient experience when using the patient-directed BMOS.

Those using the BMOS had a significant increase in receiving the food they ordered, as well as a significant increase in being able to choose food that they liked. Patients reported an almost 100% improvement in accessing nutritional information about the menu using the BMOS. The study also showed that 60% of patients accessed the BMOS independently, with no assistance from staff.

Room service in a public hospital improves nutritional intake and increases patient satisfaction while decreasing food waste and cost

A second study2 published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics mirrored last year’s groundbreaking room service research, but this time in a public hospital setting. It compared room service with a traditional foodservice model and again confirmed that room service can cost-effectively improve clinical outcomes.

Patients using room service showed statistically significant increases in both energy and protein intake, as well as energy and protein intake as a percentage of their daily requirements. Plate waste decreased from 30% to 17% and food costs decreased by 28% per year. Patient satisfaction improved as well, with 98% of patients scoring the service good to very good, compared to 75% for the traditional foodservice model.

Bedside Menu Ordering System increases energy and protein intake while decreasing plate waste and food costs in hospital patients

Malnutrition in hospitals is associated with adverse clinical outcomes, increased mortality and morbidity, increased length of hospital stay and increased costs. With one in three hospital patients malnourished, hospitals must explore strategies to improve nutritional intake among patients.

This study3 published in Clinical Nutrition ESPEN showed how patient intake and food wastage can be influenced by foodservice model design and flexibility, and that patient satisfaction is linked to foodservice quality. The Bedside Menu Ordering System proved to be superior to traditional paper menu ordering in addressing all of these issues.

It’s important for hospitals of all sizes to consider research like this when evaluating their meal ordering and foodservice systems. The benefits to patients, along with the labor and cost savings involved, are becoming more obvious, and dietitians and healthcare professionals around the world are putting their knowledge and experience into action.

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1 Barrington V., Maunder K. & Kelaart A. (2018) Engaging the patient: improving dietary intake and meal experience through bedside terminal meal ordering for oncology patients. J Hum Nutr Diet. https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12573

2 McCray S., Maunder K., Barsha L., Mackenzie-Shalders K. (2018) Room service in a public hospital improves nutritional intake and increase spatient satisfaction while decreasing food waste and cost. J Hum Nutr Diet. https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12580

3 McCray S., Maunder K., Norris R., Moir J., MacKenzie-Shalders K. (2018) Bedside Menu Ordering System increases energy and protein intake while decreasing plate waste and food costs in hospital patients. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, Volume 26 , 66 – 71 https://clinicalnutritionespen.com/article/S2405-4577(17)30423-0/fulltext