Patient Menu Ordering Technology, Why Every Hospital Should Have It
With everything that happens during a typical hospital visit, meals are probably one part of the overall patient experience that can positively impact satisfaction and safety. Hospital food and nutrition service (FANS) departments know firsthand what a complex enterprise it is to nourish patients properly. Though the production, preparation, and delivery of meals all matter, the ordering process is often given the least attention. But innovative hospitals, like Halton Healthcare, are not taking this task for granted – instead, they are leveraging integrated patient menu ordering technology to optimize their food service operation.
A Call for Self-Ordering
When you are responsible for serving an average of 450,000 patient meals annually, as Halton Healthcare, managing orders can quickly become inefficient, costly, and inaccurate, especially when traditional paper menus are involved. Considering Halton processes about 60,000 diet orders and menu changes annually, manually administering the trail of papers would be highly unproductive for their FANS staff. But optimization is attainable with a comprehensive self-ordering system, which integrates patient menu ordering software with a digital platform. Compatible with an on-demand room service program, patients have the flexibility to view menus and initiate meal requests via an in-room TV or tablet. With approximately 30% of patient meal orders being processed through room service and digital self-ordering, Halton has streamlined their overall meal services. Consequently, FNS staff spend less time distributing, collecting, and processing papers and more time on other patient-centered initiatives.
Engaged Patient = Satisfied Experience
According to a recent study conducted by Canada Health Infoway, 90% of Canadians want technology that puts them in greater control of their health.1 Patients may not have control over much during their hospital stay, but their dining experience is an area that can provide opportunities to redeem some autonomy. 2 Interactive patient menu ordering technology involves the patients in their care process, so they feel connected and informed as they select meals. Interactive features, such as icons designating specific recipes and allergens, along with nutrient limit alerts, help reinforce healthy diet management.2 Providing nutrition education during the hospital stay also helps to improve the patient’s health outcome. Additionally, when patients can order a meal when they want, it diminishes the likelihood of missing a meal because they are asleep or not hungry. Likewise, the hospital also benefits from the reduction in food waste and replacement trays.
Raising the Safety Bar
Minimizing the risks of traditional care is crucial – particularly during times of increased public health concerns, like a worldwide pandemic. Seeing that nearly 7 in 10 Canadians who sought medical assistance during the pandemic had a virtual visit 1, the value of technology is evident. Decreasing exposure while maintaining accessibility is what every hospital is striving for and having a contactless option via automated patient menu ordering helps FANS departments to maintain that safety goal. Moreover, self-ordering technology customizes menus based on each patient’s particular diet order, only displaying appropriate food items. As a result, patients and staff can rely on the technology to prevent menus from displaying any food offerings that can conflict with food allergies, intolerances, or diet order changes.
Computrition, Inc. is a leading provider of fully-integrated foodservice, nutrition services, and retail solutions. With customers throughout the United States, Canada, and worldwide, Computrition is committed to Hospitality Enterprise Resource Optimization (HERO), an enterprise software product category that leverages automation and mobile capabilities to help organizations ensure dollars invested in food and nutrition services, and resources allocated, result in the most optimized financial result. Staffed by dietitians, former foodservice directors, business and service professionals and certified technical specialists, Computrition possesses the expertise necessary to deliver the highest quality products and services with a focus on customer satisfaction, employee fulfillment, and profitability in the healthcare and military industries. For more information about Computrition, please visit www.computrition.com
About HealthHub Patient Engagement Solutions
Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, HealthHub Patient Engagement Solutions help Canadian hospitals engage their patients and transform their experience through our digital bedside patient engagement platform. We’re proud health tech advocates, partnering with Canadian healthcare leaders, empowering patients to play an active role in their care and providing clinicians with real-time access to information. We’re driven by our passion to help deliver the best care and experience possible. To engage with us, please visit www.healthhubsolutions.
1. “A Healthy Dialogue: Findings.” ACCESS 2022, Canada Health Infoway, 2021, access2022.ca/section/a-healthy-dialogue.
2. “Hospital Meal Ordering Software.” Food Management, Computrition, 6 May 2021, www.food-management.com/sponsored-content/hospital-meal-ordering-software.