Hospital Room Service

 

Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, IL, a Vision Software client, launched a new meal program in late 2009 to improve the patient experience. “Cuisine on Call” allows patients to enjoy a delicious meal of their choice, and at the precise time they want it, while still following any dietary guidelines ordered by their physician.


Room Service Advantages

This and many similar patient meal service models in the hospital food service arena leverage the key advantages of room service delivery:

  • A major uptick in patient satisfaction ratings for hospital food service. Patients who are in control of their menu choices and meal times are measurably more satisfied.
  • Food cost savings. Extra meal trays and unwanted food items (that the patient didn’t order) are now off the menu.
  • Improved meal accuracy, as each tray is prepared to personalized specifications using the most current diet order.
  • Reduced staffing load for nursing.
  • The opportunity for increased revenue through guest trays for family and visitors.
  • A boost in employee morale for food service workers, who may dress the part, enjoy more patient contact, and receive the praise of patients.
  • An improvement in the patient experience, which reflects upon image and marketing value for the institution.

While hospital room service may take on many forms, a typical room service system:

  • Allows patients to order meals when they are ready to eat, much like a hotel room service model.
  • Operates within a prescribed time frame, e.g., 6 AM to 7 PM.
  • Provides rapid turnaround and in-room delivery of individual patient meal orders.
  • Serves fresher food with better quality and temperature control.
  • Allows patients to select all meal items that will be served, including entrees, sides, beverages, and desserts—within the constraints of the diet order and limitations related to food allergy or medication regimens.
  • Features a perpetual room service menu with a variety of selections suitable for personal tastes and health-related dining needs.

The Role of Food Service Technology

As with any service system, the focus on room service is not only patient delight, but also economical operation. A cost-effective, efficient room service operation is impossible to achieve without the support of behind-the-scenes software. Supporting technologies from Vision Software cover all aspects of the service system.

As with any service system, the focus on room service is not only patient delight, but also economical operation. A cost-effective, efficient room service operation is impossible to achieve without the support of behind-the-scenes software. Supporting technologies from Vision Software cover all aspects of the service system.

  • Diet office call center automation: Diet office software powers nutrition workers with real-time patient information and customized menus on screen, so they can walk patients through a safe and satisfying menu selection process.
  • Patient safety controls: Menu review features such as food allergy checking, meal pattern review, and food/medication interaction checking prevent menu errors and protect patients’ well-being.
  • Food production integration, including individual tray tickets printed on demand, for timely and accurate fulfillment.
  • Tray tracking software to help you monitor all room service processes from start to finish.
  • Patient identification: You can verify the order by scanning the patient ID bracelet to match the tray ticket.
  • Versatile patient menu ordering systems: Spoken menus, interactive TV systems, and other technologies provide versatile choices for hospital food and nutrition departments.
  • HL7 integration: HL7-compliant, real-time integration with hospital information systems keeps diet office staff up to date with current patient information to ensure accuracy. This includes patient location, diet order, and medications.

Room service implementation and service level enhancements require planning and analysis. Vision Software consults with healthcare organizations around the world to build turnkey, integrated software solutions for putting patients in charge of their meals.

From the Field

Room service implemtation led to a surge in Press Ganey scores at Heritage Valley Hospital. Read the case study»


From the Field

"We’re hearing that patients are happier. Dietitians on the floors see a vast reduction in meal-related complaints. Phone lines are open all day long, so patients simply call when they’re ready for a meal. Staff like it because they see patients eating what they want, and kitchen staff are thrilled to be part of the satisfaction."

- Andrew Munn, PMP, Project Manager - Health Information Technology Services Nova Scotia