Interactive Patient Care Systems and Meal Ordering Solutions
With people of all ages gaining confidence in use of technology, healthcare systems look to provide patrons with innovative ways to enhance customer satisfaction and overall healthcare experience. In the healthcare industry, we are seeing more and more hospitals turning to Interactive Patient Care Systems technology (IPCS). This type of technology, is a new emerging care delivery model by which patrons can be more engaged in the management and knowledge of their care. IPCS utilizes patron in-room TVs and other web-enabled devices (i.e. beside touchscreen computing device) for interactive health education and entertainment purposes. Patrons can access both general and individualized health education, as this technology interfaces with healthcare electronic medical record systems.
A popular component to IPCS is that of a meal ordering solution. IPCS vendors are partnering with food and nutrition software solutions to provide patrons direct access to nutrition services. A web-service application programming interface (API) is utilized to integrate patient menu information, housed within the food and nutrition software, to the user-interface provided by the IPCS. Patrons can share food preferences and order meals in the privacy of their room, simply using their TV and remote control and/or other web-enabled device. Direct menu integration, with the food and nutrition software, ensures that patrons receive appropriate menu options when placing orders. Appropriate menu options include diet order compliance as well as food allergy consideration. Meal orders are obtained through the IPCS, sent through the API to the food and nutrition software which further completes the ordering process by running a final check and generating a meal ticket.
The use of Interactive Patient Care Systems technology for in-room meal ordering gives patrons complete control over their meal ordering experience. The patron chooses when to order their meal and how long they wish to take, to do so. This eliminates the requirement of picking up a phone, potentially waiting on hold and having to communicate preferences to diet office staff. Common feedback on this meal ordering solution includes a sense of patron empowerment, which is a proven satisfier.
While improving patient satisfaction may be enough for healthcare facilities to turn to this technology, efficiency and cost savings is another perk. A case study in which a 500-bed medical facility converted from a paper menu selection process to in-room meal ordering utilizing an Interactive Patient Care System showed over $100,000 savings, annually. Due to the efficiency of patrons placing their own orders, the medical facility was able to reduce full-time resources by 50%. The facility saved more than $50,000 in paper and printing costs and over $15,000 in food waste. The case study revealed monetary savings, increased patient satisfaction (by more than 7%) and enhanced nutrition education of patrons.
The use of meal ordering through Interactive Patient Care Systems has gained much popularity in the healthcare field. With proven efficiency, cost savings and patient satisfaction, this innovative technology stands out as a smart business solution for healthcare facilities.
Article by: Liz Levenduski, MS, RD, LD, Product Manager; Fusion, 3rd Quarter, 2015