Tag Archives: healthcare foodservice

Peter Cayan

Foodservice and the Healthcare Satisfaction Index – Four Things You Need to Get Right

By Peter Cayan, Vice President Supply Chain and Nutrition Consulting

First in a series of periodic blog posts based on the Intalere Illuminated Path Podcast Series

Today, foodservice in a hospital is a support service function. Think of it as a hotel. You go to a hotel, you stay at a hotel, the housekeeping and the food is a component of part of this stay and, as a result of that, everybody knows foodservice.

You know foodservice because you have it at home, so it’s very, very much a touching point in people’s minds today, not only the patient’s mind, but also the minds of the family members who are there supporting them. What’s happened over the past 15 or 20 years is the role of consumerism in healthcare. Meaning, specifically, that there’s a huge emphasis related to the patient experience. You, as a patient in a hospital today, experience many things – obviously the care that you are given, the parking, that your family had to get you there and/or return you there, the food, the cleanliness, etc.

Where food plays into that, obviously, is that everyone knows food – you know it, your family knows it and everyone has cooked it. It’s not something like controlling pain or a procedure that you don’t know. It has a huge role in the patient experience. If you look at the economic side of foodservice and hospitals today versus senior living, this is where the huge dichotomy on the economic factor plays into it.

Roughly about 7 to 10 percent of what hospitals spend today is spent in the food arena. In nursing homes or senior living, it’s about 30 percent – bigger fish in a small pond. So it does play a significant role in terms of spend on the senior living side, not so much on the acute care side, but it does play a huge role in the patient experience. And not only the specific food component of it. When you look at foodservice, you’re really looking at four things in the patient experience:

  1. Did I get what I ordered?
  2. Is the food hot?
  3. Is the food good?
  4. And the most important factor of all – Is the person courteous to me who’s delivering the tray?

When you look at those four indexes, that are measured in satisfaction instruments, the single most important feature of the patient experience in foodservice today is what I call the courtesy question.

For example, when you go into a restaurant, you could have a fabulous meal at a pretty good price, but if you get bad service, nasty service, poor service, it kind of dilutes the whole experience versus great courtesy, mediocre quality. The bottom line is that if you get the courtesy question right, you’re going to do fairly well in terms of your patient experience on the foodservice experience factor questions.

To learn more, listen to the entire podcast The Balancing Act in Healthcare Foodservice. And to better understand how Intalere’s Nutrition Consulting Team can help you reduce costs and improve your foodservice operation, watch this video featuring Peter Cayan.

Four Must-Have Measurements for Effective Foodservice Performance

peter cayan

By Peter Cayan
Senior Director, Nutrition Specialists

In my last blog, I mentioned that national healthcare reform continues to drive less available dollars with a laser-focus emphasis on measureable quality patient outcomes. Healthcare nutrition and food professionals will continue to play out a balancing act of economic and satisfaction measures to help shape their organizations’ success or demise. This constant vigilance of the “levers and drivers” of performance metrics are underscored by the ever-changing national benchmarking indices.

These variables coupled with public visibility, value-based purchasing and C-suite scrutiny, position the foodservice executive with a plethora of information, data and KPIs from which to choose. It can, however, be difficult to define or select those metrics which truly define one’s performance and, more importantly, those which will assist with operational course correction if necessary.

The balancing act is defined in four operational arenas – each having their own proprietary ratios, measures, definitions and “MUST-HAVES.”

      • Expense and revenue budget: Actual and budget performance that includes dollars and percentage variance for each period, year to date and prior year. The budget tool must have the ability to apply journal entries and restate or reconcile all line items throughout the year.   
      • Patient satisfaction: Mean scores and percentile rankings by peer group. Satisfaction indices must include minimum measures of food quality, food temperature and courtesy. 
      • Employee satisfaction: Mean scores and percentile rankings by peer group. It is imperative that the assessment tool has the ability to isolate scoring on an individual leader and/or a supervisory group. In addition, the tool must be able to measure work environment, benefits and leadership metrics. Lastly, the instrument must be confidential and in a format that is user friendly. Without the latter, all employee satisfaction measures will be irrelevant.
      • Economic benchmarking: One could spend hours extrapolating dozens of meaningless ratios. The most effective economic performance indicators must include:  X* cost per meal; X* net cost of cash per patient day or adjusted patient day; and productive hour worked per patient day or adjusted patient day. (*line items segregation of food, supplies and grand total)

In summary, today’s foodservice executives continue to face a balancing act of economic and satisfaction performance demands. Undoubtedly, those most successful have the keen ability to understand the key levers and drivers that lead to an acceptable and sustainable performance.

As one “data junkie” once told me, “the exceptional leaders are those who are able to differentiate causal relationships verses simple correlations.” Now, I think I’ll dig out my slide rule for a trip down memory lane…  

Contact us to find out more about Intalere’s healthcare nutrition solutions.