Tag Archives: patient experience

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.

Intalere Member Best Practice Spotlight – Copper Ridge Surgery Center – Patient Experience Initiative


In 2016, when CMS announced new ways to measure patient experience, Copper Ridge Surgery Center’s goal was to prepare for the new requirements by taking a close look at each aspect of the patient experience and assess the facility’s readiness to meet those requirements by utilizing people, processes and tools.


Copper Ridge Surgery Center leadership enlisted staff to help them gain an understanding and awareness of the patient experience. Fictional personas were created: patients with specific conditions, limitations and expectations. Phases of the patient experience were defined and then the clerical and clinical interactions encountered before, during and after their procedure were described. A system map was created that depicts interactions from the patient’s view: the message shared, by which staff member, in what medium and at what moment in time. Having visualized the experience in a system map, Copper Ridge created the Infinity Loop, a graphical representation of all aspects of the patient experience. Finally, new language and tools were designed and tested with staff and patients.


The new patient experience (PX) initiative was launched at an all-staff celebration, creating a starting point to improved internal conversations around PX, leading to increased staff engagement and understanding of their roles. New groups were formed, designed to address PX and unlock change from within the organization culture: PX Leadership, PX Champions (for ongoing initiatives), Process Improvement, Training & Orientation. A greater patient experience will ensure continued Medicare reimbursements, which is the primary measure of success. For staff, this will translate into profit sharing and compensation.

About Copper Ridge Surgery Center

Copper Ridge Surgery Center (formerly known as Northwest Michigan Surgery Center) is a 14-year-old free-standing ambulatory surgery center (ASC). The surgery center is a joint venture owned by an ASC physicians group and local hospital Munson Medical Center. Copper Ridge Surgery Center employs 108 FTEs and is one of the busiest ASCs in the U.S., doing more than 21,000 procedures per year.

Check out the project video and view the Copper Ridge Surgery Center page in the 2018 Intalere Best Practices Compendium.

Don’t Overlook the Importance of Healthcare Environmental Design and the Patient Experience

by Mike Reid, Vice President, Construction, Capital and Facility Services, and Tom Wessling, Vice President, Nutrition, Environmental Services, Contracting Operations

Only two of the questions on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey deal directly with the physical healthcare environment, but the fact is that all facility surroundings impact the patient experience.

Because the survey is instrumental in producing data so that consumers can make objective and meaningful comparisons of hospitals, creating incentives for hospitals to improve quality of care and enhance public accountability by increasing transparency, it is important for facility administrators to understand ALL the factors that go into facility experience in order to maximize their scores. 

Does your healthcare facility’s safety culture include a comprehensive system approach to becoming an HCAHPS performance leader? What are some ways to ensure that your entire healthcare team thoroughly understands their role in consistently making each patient’s care an “always” experience—one that leads to the best and safest outcomes, as well as the highest HCAHPS scores?

In a recent survey, more than 69 percent of facility directors surveyed said that because of HCAHPS they had implemented programs to upgrade foodservice in their facilities. Several Intalere members who submitted projects around their foodservice improvements for the Intalere Healthcare Achievement Awards reported much higher patient satisfaction scores once the projects were implemented.

One of the biggest hits a facility can take to its patient satisfaction scores relates to sound – too much, too loud, too disconcerting (alarms), etc. “Quietness” generally ranks as the lowest of all HCAHPS scores at 61 percent. The positive effects of sound mitigation through better choices around fabric, floorcovering, wallcovering, acoustic ceiling tiles, white noise generators and others can bring substantial ROI.

Also, a recent study found that patients with a window looking at leafy green trees generally heal one day faster, need significantly less pain meds and have fewer post-surgical complications. Similarly, indoor plants and landscaping are considered a positive distraction, increasing positive feelings while reducing stress.

Finally, it’s been found that healthcare environmental services (EVS) workers have a substantial impact on the overall perception of cleanliness. Intalere member Fairfield Medical Center designed a program not only focused on ensuring the cleanliness of the patient rooms, but also the courtesy of the EVS workers, as patient feedback indicated that the patient experience and comfort with the housekeeper had a substantial impact on the overall perception of cleanliness and the technical competence of the staff.

EVS staff members were tested on their cleaning effectiveness and patient interaction. The top third performers in terms of patient interaction were identified and workflow was reallocated to keep those performers heavily involved in daily patient interaction. The top performers were reassigned to units with the most lagging scores for cleanliness and courtesy of the housekeeper, and improved results were immediate.

To learn more about healthcare environmental design and the patient experience, check out this infographic, which highlights vital areas that should be a part your healthcare environmental planning.