Patients' perception of hospital food influenced by ordering, delivery experience

Patients' perceptions of hospital food quality are strongly influenced by the meal ordering and delivery process, according to research conducted by Press Ganey on behalf of Compass One Healthcare.

To compile the report, Press Ganey Consulting spoke with 45 patients recently discharged from New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System about their opinions on hospital food during three separate focus groups. Most participants demonstrated stronger attitudes about the ordering, availability and delivery of their hospital meals, as opposed to the quality of the food.

Press Ganey also analyzed 2014 to 2016 survey data on the inpatient food experience for 9,734 patients treated at seven urban acute care hospitals in the Midwest, West and Southeast. Sixty-four percent of respondents who gave their hospital the highest ratings for meal order accuracy also gave high ratings for food quality. In contrast, only 10 percent of respondents who gave their hospital low rankings for food accuracy gave the hospital a high rating for food quality.

Press Ganey's data suggested the timeliness of meal delivery and the courtesy of the person serving the food influenced patients' perception of food quality in a manner similar to meal order accuracy.

"Patients expect the right food to be delivered on time and in a courteous way, and when those baseline expectations are met, achieving optimal ratings for food quality becomes highly likely," researchers wrote in the whitepaper.

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