Patient Over Process

The healthcare industry has seen drastic changes in recent years when it comes to the importance of dining, as well as the expectations for dining. More emphasis is being placed on the patient experience and satisfaction along with the expectation of restaurant-quality food and service during patients' hospital stay. This has prompted the industry to rethink how it operates patient dining. While it can be tempting to gather the team in front of the whiteboard and map out processes, this risks getting lost in the abstractions and unnecessarily reinforcing the notion of a clinical food setting—which instead could be warm and comforting while still maintaining patient safety.

HealthShare New South Wales in Australia explored a patient dining reorganization in 2015. Gary Sullivan, Area Hotel Services Manager, gave a high level of overview of their experience.

The overarching plan for Sullivan and his team was to turn their entire operation into a patient-service delivery model, as opposed to a process-driven operation. The patient now comes first, and all of the processes for all of the food service work around that idea.

One of the first changes was reducing the time between when the patient orders their meal and when it is actually delivered. The idea behind this change is that if the patient orders closer to when they expect to eat, they are far more likely to pick something they will actually eat when it arrives.

The team also divided the food service workers into small teams that serve the same groups of patients. This helps build a familiarity between the patient and the same worker that will be taking their order, delivering their meal, and taking their tray. That familiarity leads to a greater comfort level for the patient while they are in the hospital, a change that enhances patient satisfaction, as opposed to just focusing on the process.

The final piece to the reorganization is technology which Sullivan refers to as the "third key to the puzzle". Using the latest in patient meal-ordering technology from CBORD®, Sullivan and his team can see exactly how much of their meals are being consumed by patients, giving them the data required to make smart business decisions moving forward.

If you'd like to see how CBORD can help provide the data you need to track your patients' food consumption, check out this short video from our popular "To the Point" series.