Fusion Newsletter Article: Mobile Technologies in Nutrition Services

Mobile Technologies in Nutrition Services

Mobile technology is so rampant in all industries that it's almost impossible to miss its power and influence. We're not just talking about phones or tablets, but other methods and technologies as well that allow us to be more productive, more effective, and more impactful.

For example, let's consider real-time functionality. Healthcare mobile technology has been influential in the performance of healthcare foodservice operations because it essentially provides immediate accessibility of up-to-date critical information. Take a look at hospitals like Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center who incorporated mobile technologies in their Nutrition Services departments to drive their day-to-day processes and boost their delivery of patient care. By using a wireless system like Computers on Wheels (COW), the staff at GMC is able to instantaneously enter patient meal selections and track its corresponding nutritional information. Both hospitals’ Nutrition Services staff also input patient meal orders at bedside with floor ambassadors at GMC using iPads and Saddleback staff using wireless tablets.

Mobile technologies in nutrition services.With the integration of such mobile technology, the process of taking patient meal orders is significantly increased. The need to rely on the method of taking orders and entering them later into the system is decreased or eliminated. Plus the level of accuracy is raised when information is entered right then and there.

Today’s mobile technology can offer innovative features, for example, allowing patients the flexibility to choose what they want to eat and still keep within the parameters of their required nutrition guidelines. This kind of functionality improves the productivity of the Nutrition Services department because staff won’t waste time going back-and-forth to modify orders since it’s done right the first time! Most importantly, taking orders at bedside helps enhance the overall hospital dining experience and in the end serves to improve patient satisfaction scores (hint: helps to increase reimbursements!). A perfect case in point is UCSF Medical Center who raised patient satisfaction scores to the 99th percentile with improved efficiency from technology.

Aside from the efficiency gained in being able to process data instantly, consumers gain other benefits such as the convenience of accessing information remotely resulting in increased awareness of food content. For example, having the ability to identify nutritional facts, ingredients and allergens are major advantages of reviewing a menu before making dining choices. Let’s not neglect to mention yet another positive implication of mobile technology – its impact on food safety initiatives. Knowing what food contains can prevent a harmful allergic reaction and even save a life!

If you haven't seen mobile technology's power yet, just you wait. The trend isn't likely coming – it's already here.

Sosi Minasian, Marketing AnalystArticle by: Sosi Minasian, Marketing Analyst; Fusion, 2nd Quarter, 2014