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The Growing Role of Hospital POS Modernization

Hospitals Hungry for Change

Modern hospital food service management companies are working hard to overcome their notoriety of having dated cafeterias and in-room dining options. With healthcare occupying more than half of the total institutional food service market, upgrading old attitudes is a top priority. Modernization of hospital POS has come to the forefront, as light continues to be shed on quality food service in hospitals being a fundamental component to the health and healing process. In the new era of healthcare consumerism, hospital POS providers must find a way to balance customer-oriented service in a cost-effective way.

Hospitals and other institutional healthcare facilities make for a unique combination of limits and demands when it comes to food service. Challenges include a mix of increased dietary constraints and allergies, unusual hours of operation, and bedside ordering and delivery – all within a fast-paced and high-stress environment. Successful hospital POS providers are shaping the food service landscape by proving it’s possible to operate with strict regulations, healthcare reforms and inflexible budgets, all while tending to the unique needs of hospital consumers.

The role of hospital POS is vital as patient, staff, and visitor food service experience remains one of the most notable factors of hospital satisfaction rates – directly affecting healthcare facilities revenues and reimbursements. Perceived high-quality food options, like locally sourced ingredients, have been highlighted as a factor of overall hospital image. Similarly, diverse food choices incorporating a range of cultures, flavors, and diet-specific meals (such as gluten and lactose-free) help to broaden a facility’s appeal and keep them competitive with surrounding local restaurant options.

Healthy food options have a direct and substantial impact on hospital-frequenters’ nutrition and well-being. Undernutrition (commonly an issue for patients, with decreased appetite due to illness) is associated with loss of muscle strength and impaired immune function, leading to an increase in complication rates, infection rates, and mortality. Promoting optimal nutritional status through quality hospital food services can lead to faster recovery time and decrease the length of hospital stay, resulting in a significant impact on hospital costs. For hospital workers, having easily accessible nutritious food is equally important, as they experience an 8.6% higher burden of illnesses such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and obesity than the general U.S. population.

Hospital POS & Partners

More powerful combined – hospitals are embracing food service management companies to help operate their POS

Healthcare has traditionally provided its own independent self-operated food services. However, hospitals generally aren’t as adept at offering this expertise as specialized providers. Along with outdated equipment, this aging infrastructure is getting a renovation. Food service management companies support all areas of the patient food service operations that hospitals simply do not have the resources or knowledge in order to offer a positive dining experience. Working closely with the hospitals, they take care of everything from purchasing to distribution, organization, planning, POS technology, and monitoring the entire department. Not to mention the appealing cost-saving benefits and investments that often ensue from this partnership.

In Canada, approximately 54 percent of the institutional food service market is operated by management and staff directly employed by institutions. The remaining 46 percent is operated by contract food service management companies. Some of the eminent multinational leaders at the moment include: Morrison / Compass, Soxedo, Centerplate, and Aramark. Their influence is vast – Aramark for example, currently employs or manages approximately 50,000 people who provide food services to more than 1,100 health care organizations across North America.

The influential Mayo Clinic, with locations in Rochester, Phoenix, and Jacksonville, is an example of a healthcare system that has opted to outsource their food services with the help of Morrison Healthcare. With over 70 hospitals and clinics across the United States that serve millions each year, providing high quality company-wide innovative food service is no small task. Working closely with Morrison and Volanté Systems, Mayo currently offers rotating daily menus in a wide variety of food categories. Restaurant-style breakfast, pizza, hot entrees, grilled sandwiches, and a soup & salad bar are just some of the options helping them to move away from the reputation of bland hospital cafeteria food. Initiatives like Mayo’s “Meatless Monday” have been highly successful in appealing to the modern consumer.

Mayo is certainly not alone in opting for cost-savings and improved means of providing quality food services. Many healthcare facilities are following suit by making the switch to an all-encompassing hospital POS and food services provider.

I think all people in this type of environment want to be healthier. If they trust that the food will taste as good as it is good for them, they will buy into it

Chef Eric Schiellerd, Mayo Clinic

Goodbye paper menus, Hello Hospital POS

Patients dine with dignity

It’s safe to say the former pencil and paper checkbox mode of ordering is a relic of the past. Hospital POS systems are streamlining patient services through tablets, kiosks, consoles, and mobile apps. These modernized food service options compliment the cashier, by increasing efficiency, size of orders, and patient satisfaction, while reducing errors. With labor costs generally accounting for 70% of a food service budget, these technologies help to greatly increase revenue in a department that commonly doesn’t contribute bottom-line profits.

Automation plays an important role in the processes and procedures in the food service department. Interfaces between electronic health record and electronic programs in the food service department for menu management and the patient meal ordering process can help with time/cost management.

Mary Fonville, Texas Health Resources

Mobile Tablet POS

For patients, Mobile Tablet POS translate to a modernized version of bedside ordering. Improved ordering functionality offers greater convenience, accuracy, and less wastage. A study done by the American Dietetic Association on patient satisfaction with food services found perceived control over a situation positively influences satisfaction. It is predicted that when patients have increased involvement with the food service process, their satisfaction would be increased. With the hospital POS Mobile Tablet, patients become more engaged with their food options through an interactive experience. From the comfort of their hospital bed, patients scroll through visually appealing menus along with their server, with pictures and customizable food choices. At the touch of a button, requests are communicated to the kitchen. Purchases are tracked for future menu planning and inventory management.

Self-Serve Kiosk

For staff and visitors, new innovation in hospital POS brings the introduction of Self-Serve Kiosks. For hospital POS, the need for speed is imperative and Self-Serve Kiosks have revolutionized timely ordering. These easy-to-use touchscreen devices are operated by the customers themselves – taking more orders while reducing lines and overall wait time. Like tablets, orders are transmitted instantly to the kitchen and entered into the queue. Kiosks can operate 24/7, supporting the unusual hospital work hours. Kiosk systems can also be integrated with standard POS supporting operations, such as payroll deduction & employee discounts.

Read more about Self-Serve Kiosks in our previous blog post

Hospital POS – the Volanté Advantage

An appetite for success

Offering an optimal hospital POS solution is something we at Volanté take great pride in. Providing peace of mind and ease to patients, staff, and visitors alike means the hospital POS and food service team has truly done its job.

Whether your hospital has one or one-hundred cafeterias and cafés, Volanté is fully equipped to be your all-inclusive Hospital POS software system that can incorporate weigh scales, meal plan and declining balance accounts, discounts, and an infinite number of menu items or meal plan programs.

Volanté Systems