Boosting patient experience through food & nutrition services

Patients are at the heart of healthcare, but their expectations have changed. Patients have become consumers. To meet their growing needs and expectations, hospitals must innovate by creating programs and processes that directly impact the patient experience.

Food and nutrition services (FANS) play an important role in the overall health and experience of a patient. Everything from silverware to a smiling face can affect the patient. For FANS departments, that means an emphasis on patient meal assembly and delivery processes, while integrating technology into the front and backend processes.

This emphasis on logistics and data can best be witnessed at Morrison Healthcare. Two years ago, the country’s leading food and nutrition services company created the Patient Solutions team, whose mission is centered on three areas:

  • Timeliness – Customizable workflows based on thorough time studies of the frontline associates’ workday from start to finish.
  • Temperature – New meal assembly processes that increase the temperature of food when it is delivered to patients.
  • Accuracy – Development of a robust high-risk tray process by use of technology and policy compliance to decrease incident reports.

Technology is a critical component of the process that allows hospitals to streamline operations and foster a collaborative environment among teams.

In the case of Morrison Healthcare, technology has allowed them to build a logistical powerhouse for their clients that drives efficiency, speed, and lower cost. Morrison’s technology stands out because it was designed by chefs, dietitians, and operational experts with an emphasis on creating the ideal dining experience for the patient. With the addition of cutting-edge technology, healthcare logistics receive a shot in the arm through enhanced data and added efficiency.

Technology is a conduit to logistical excellence, but without excellent associates, a FANS department will struggle. It’s essential to develop a staffing model that boosts recruitment and retention efforts while also maximizing resource efficiency.

For Morrison, the Patient Solutions team has sought to improve retention of frontline Patient Dining Associates and has seen a remarkable 25 percent improvement in retention. This has happened through a robust onboarding process to provide these professionals with the specific skills, processes, and considerations that they need in order to serve patients each day safely. The team has also created a Patient Dining Career Ladder, which trains and incentivizes associates, helping to build careers in the organization.

Some of the most significant logistical improvements come from how teams are set up. The Patient Solutions team has flipped the traditional FANS team setup on its head by developing new models: Team Build and Team Pass, new ways to look at tray assembly and delivery. Rooted in research and data analysis, these new models allow hospitals to realize efficiencies, increased speed, enhanced associate engagement, and cross-functional skillsets.

The proof is in the data. On average, conventional bedside food delivery takes 87 minutes from order to delivery. Facilities that utilize Team Build drop the total delivery time to 66 minutes with the tray assembly time cut in half. The numbers are even more staggering for hospitals that use both Team Build and Team Pass. The total delivery time drops to 40 minutes with only 25 minutes to deliver the food from the kitchen.

Logistics are at the heart of healthcare operations. By investing in people, processes, and technology, hospitals can create a logistical powerhouse that boosts results, drives revenue, and increases the patient experience. For a deep dive on how Morrison Healthcare and its Patient Solutions team are revolutionizing FANS, read the white paper: People, Process and Technology: How Investing in Logistics Transforms the Patient Experience.

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