Room Service Drives Up Patient Satisfaction at Self Regional

Many CBORD® customers have switched to offering hotel-style room service with a primary goal of improving patient satisfaction, namely, Press GaneyTM scores. We recently sat down with Lori Kent, Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood, South Carolina, to learn more about her team's transition to room service. Under Kent's leadership, Self Regional went live in November of 2011, and the new room service system has proven very successful at improving patient satisfaction scores. Considering the move to room service? Kent's insights from her team's experience may help ensure your success.

Kent has been at Self Regional Healthcare for 24 years, and about 15 years ago, they started with CBORD solutions for food service. Ten years ago, they moved to Foodservice Suite®(FSS) and Nutrition Service Suite®(NSS), adding Bedside Menu Entry. They felt at the time that the satisfaction scores were good at 75%, but they wanted to improve. So in 2005, the hospital adopted the “Studer” process in an effort to bump up scores. The Studer Group® works with healthcare organizations, teaching them how to achieve, sustain, and accelerate exceptional clinical, operational, and financial outcomes. During this time, they were able to move their Press Ganey scores up to 85%, sometimes hitting 90%, but could not sustain the higher scores. They tried everything they could think of, but were not able to move the scores.

In a continuous effort to improve, Kent and her team contacted CBORD and DM&A. After a process analysis of the food service operation, DM&A recommended that Self Regional Healthcare implement room service. With the support of DM&A, Kent made a recommendation to administration to move to Room Service in March of 2011. Kent credits the information they received from DM&A and CBORD as vital to the process and their ability to persuade administration to move forward. “There are costs, and there are savings—you need to be able to accurately analyze both and present the ROI to management,” said Kent.

We asked Kent to share what she felt was critical to the success of their room service project:

  • You may need to redesign areas of your kitchen, so involve your plant operation manager in the project.
  • Use a structured project management approach, meeting with your support team and following your project timeline.
  • Delegate responsibilities, which makes many people invested in the success of the project.
  • Meet with nursing staff regularly to update and share plans.
  • Set up meetings with every area of the hospital who may be affected to communicate what you are doing and why.
  • Develop a procedure to determine who will be on room service and how you will handle those who cannot order. At Self Regional, they have a Chef Select menu served at standard mealtimes, as well as a process where family members can order for a patient. (As a CBORD Nutrition Service Suite user, all meal selections are checked for compliancy, and substitutions are made where needed. No matter how they chose to order, the patient's safety is always maintained.)
  • Get marketing involved to develop a name for your room service dining, and to design an attractive menu. Self Regional uses a single use disposable menu printed on glossy paper.
  • Use the Tray Monitor® feature of CBORD Room Service to track trays and measure delivery times. Once Self Regional started to report on delivery times, they quickly moved their average tray delivery time from over an hour down to 47 minutes.

Having interviewed many food service directors about their room service implementation, we can say with certainty that successful implementations have a similar story, and lessons learned are much the same. All tell us that communication with and support from others is critical. All talk about the project management component, mentioning how important it is to create a team with all affected areas of the organization. What we like about sharing this story from Kent is that she could document how different implementations influenced her Press Ganey scores, like the transition to using Bedside Menu Entry, then moving to the Studer process, and last converting to Room Service. All of these changes improved the process, but clearly room service is a showstopper when it comes to patient satisfaction.