Shore Medical Center knew that nothing warms the heart of a sick or injured patient like a wholesome meal, prepared the way they like it. But their in-house food service based on set menus and meals ordered in advance had a hard time meeting the dietary needs and individual preferences of nearly 200 patients. Problems were almost inevitable, including missing items, food that was cold, and other unpleasant surprises. As a hospital committed to patient-centered care, Shore Medical Center knew their patients deserved better.
Shore Medical Center deployed Unidine’s MyDine™ in-room patient dining service that combines culinary skill, innovative technology, and personalized attention, all working together to optimize the dining experience. Meals are made to order for every patient, tailored to their dietary requirements and personal preferences, and delivered within 45 minutes by specialized Unidine staff. By extending patient-centered care to patient-centered dining, the service promotes healing while providing patients with delight and comfort when they need it most.
After going live with MyDine™ in 2016, patient satisfaction scores jumped nearly 10 percent within a few months, a level Shore Medical Center has sustained since. The service also lets hospital nurses and dietitians use their time more effectively while saving thousands of dollars annually by reducing food waste. It’s the new model for in-room dining — delighting patients as well as staff, streamlining hospital operations, and helping make Shore Medical Center the hospital of choice for the communities it serves.
“MyDine™ takes our food service to the next level.”
Bob Robertson, Administrative Director of Logistics, Shore Medical Center
PATIENT-CENTERED DINING COMES TO LIFE
Shore Medical Center is a full-service acute-care community hospital in Somers Point, New Jersey, dedicated to providing the highest quality health services with respect and a caring, human touch. They are also the only hospital in New Jersey to be designated as a Patient-Centered Care Hospital by the prestigious Planetree organization.
Hospital leadership knew that wholesome, nutritious meals are one of the few experiences patients can look forward to during a hospital stay. But every patient has needs, preferences, and expectations when it comes to food, and their in-house food service (despite their best efforts) could not provide this personalized attention. Some patients got food they didn’t want because items were removed from their order and replaced with substitutes to reflect dietary restrictions and allergies. Other times trays were delivered when patients were away from their room, so food would go cold and be thrown away.
A FRESH APPROACH TO PATIENT DINING
Shore Medical Center recognized that it was time to modernize their food service. After a rigorous selection process they chose Unidine’s MyDine program that combines technology, great food, and human interaction to make sure patients get the nutrition they need but also food they like, when they want it.
“When I saw what Unidine could do, I knew that’s what we needed,” says Tami Kitchen, Administrative Director of Patient and Family Experience at Shore Medical Center. “We need homemade meals prepared from scratch but we also need bedside order entry. We need someone to help patients plan their meals and work within their dietary restrictions to deliver something delicious. Unidine delivers for us.”
“Proper nutrition is extremely important for patients recovering from illness or injury,” adds Linda Kenwood, Chief Nursing Officer at Shore Medical Center. “Unidine has been able to tailor the food experience to meet the individual patient’s needs, and these kinds of positive experiences make a huge difference in their care.”
HOW IT WORKS
In the kitchen: Meals are made from scratch and to order using 100 percent fresh food and locally sourced products whenever possible. All meals are delivered within 45 minutes to maximize freshness and taste, with extensive quality and dietary checks before being served.
On the patient floor: Unidine’s Guest Services Representatives (GSRs) provide personalized attention, assisted by tablet devices that link to information about patients’ dietary restrictions and allergies stored in the hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR). GSRs discuss meal options with patients one-on-one and use their tablets to take orders at bedside, which display in the kitchen in real time. If the tablet alerts that an item is prohibited, the GSR can offer alternatives the patient will enjoy. When the meal is ready, the GSR brings it to the patient, and checks back later to make sure the patient is happy.
GSRs are based on patient units, close to patients to provide individualized attention and close to nurse managers and dietitians to fully manage the dining needs of their patients. They also make observations such as whether patients ate their entire meal or only a small portion, and pass on concerns to the clinical team.
EMBRACED BY PATIENTS AND HOSPITAL STAFF
”Since we transitioned to Unidine, the comments are out of this world,” Tami Kitchen notes. “‘It’s better than the restaurants! The food tastes like my grandmother’s! It’s the best soup I’ve had in my life.’ We get the best feedback from our patients.”
Positive feedback is reflected in higher patient satisfaction scores. Since going live with MyDine, Shore Medical Center has seen its Press Ganey score rise from 78 to 87 percent while saving hours daily for nurses, improving utilization of dietitians, and even saving about $25,000 yearly because of reduced food waste.
Steve Servant, Senior Vice President at Unidine, adds that client patient feedback now has a new twist. “Patients say that their nurse took great care of them, they have good communication with their doctor, AND they love the food. On my visit to Shore Medical Center, one patient said her experience with us was the ﬁrst time she had nutritious food prepared in a way she enjoyed.”
Benefits of MyDine™
• Personalized attention to ensure proper nutrition
• Immediate increase in patient satisfaction scores
• Saves time for nurses
• Improves utilization of dietitians
• Reduces food waste by $25,000 annually