The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has many hospitals reevaluating their kitchens. Those who work in healthcare food service are aware of the many changes being made to boost patient satisfaction. In the midst of this, the director of food and nutrition services for Huntsville Hospital in Alabama, Cedric Junearick made sure that staff members were not forgotten when he developed a food delivery service.
Acknowledging staff needs
Junearick took up the director position in 2011, after serving as an executive chef and was familiar with the struggles that busy hospital staff members faced. According to Food Service Director, he realized that many employees were not able to visit retail food locations during lunch hours and opted instead for takeout from outside restaurants.
“We were experiencing a lot of frustrated customers with time restrictions who couldn’t come to eat at retail,” stated Junearick. “After observing a lot of other food establishments coming in and out delivering, I knew I needed to figure out how to create a culture where our staff doesn’t have to order out. Rather we can bring comfort foods to their desks.”
Junearick set up a program he called Steak and Chicken Express, which delivered food from the hospital’s kitchen right to employees’ desks. To prevent worker shortage, the service is only available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. By coordinating workers and schedules, Junearick was able to set up the new program without having to hire any additional workers. It wasn’t just the consumers who benefited, however. Food Service Director reported that the hospital makes at least $100 a day, thanks to this new service – not bad for a 3-hour window.
Though patient satisfaction is becoming increasingly important due to the ACA, it’s equally essential to boost staff satisfaction as well. Making sure that workers are happy will help ensure that patients are surrounded by upbeat individuals.
Consider offering this creative delivery service for staff members at your institution. You can start small by delivering to locations closest to the main kitchen. If the test is successful, expand the services to the rest of the hospital.
It’s important to note that the delivery staff at Huntsville Hospital don’t carry any money. The transactions are paid for via credit cards and employee badge, providing protection for the runners. This can be a small service that may have a huge effect on your institution’s culture.