Takeaways from the 2015 AHF Annual Conference
Every June, I look forward to attending the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) Annual Conference. If you’ve never been to this conference or heard of AHF, it’s built on the philosophy that healthcare foodservice is best served through self-operation (http://www.healthcarefoodservice.org). There are many things I enjoy about this show: discovering new trends, connecting with my peers and old friends, seeing how the industry evolves year after year to tackle new challenges, and more.
If you went to this year’s event, I hope we connected and look forward to seeing you in Dallas in 2016. If you didn’t make it this year, here’s a brief recap of a few of the sessions I attended.
This session, aptly called Get Your SHIFT Together, featured comedian, author, and motivational speaker, Steve Rizzo, who focused on the importance of having a sense of humor as well as embracing change, knowing some good will come from it. He stressed that our thoughts formulate our beliefs and that you need to make sure you’re feeling good “during the process” and “feeling good is the fuel that drives motivation.” Rizzo noted that the ability to laugh can help you bounce back from negative situations and that we should feel blessed for what we have rather than focusing on what we don’t have. According to Rizzo, “Humor nips negative feelings in the bud before they blossom into emotional havoc.”
Trends in Clinical Nutrition
The breakout session I attended that first afternoon was offered by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics member, Sherri Jones, MS, MBA, RDN, LDN, FAND on Trends in Clinical Nutrition. She covered a wide range of important topics such as the identification and coding of malnutrition in hospitalized patients (and referred the audience to a 2012 Journal article on that topic), the latest on telehealth, the CMS Final Rule on Therapeutic Diets (and the Academy’s resources for these efforts), and on clinical nutrition staffing, noting an article on that topic in the June 2015 Journal. For another article on combating malnutrition in hospitals, see Identifying and Treating Malnutrition (and Coding It, Too!).
Communicating with Millennials
On the third day of the conference, I attended the morning keynote which was titled Crossing the Generational Divide: Unlocking the Power of Generations to Grow Your Business, presented by the dynamic and entertaining millennial, Jason Dorsey, from the Center for Generational Kinetics. Like many speakers on this topic, he discussed how various generations have different beliefs, priorities, preferences, communication habits, workplace styles, and buying patterns. He also noted that for the first time ever, there are four generations in the workforce and five in the marketplace. He admitted that many millennials feel entitled – that some do not have their first full-time job until around age 26, but that those millennials who have worked hard for years may resent those who have this attitude. The preferred method of communication for millennials is texting (or “embedded IM”), followed by e-mail, then social media. For managers and supervisors hiring millennials, he suggested providing specific examples of what you expect of them and remember that they learn best via videos such as YouTube, and photos, rather than by verbal instructions.
Excellence in the Patient Experience
The next general session I attended was Excellence in the Patient Experience, presented by Joseph Quitoni from The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center. He discussed the Ritz-Carlton “Gold Standards” that include a warm and sincere greeting, using the guest’s name, anticipating and fulfilling of each guest’s needs, and a fond farewell, again using the guest’s name. Their motto is “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” His focus was on creating a service culture that improves the patient experience and engages and empowers employees, helping to increase both patient and employee satisfaction. He also discussed modifying operations to help reduce mistakes, improve safety, and avoid time-consuming re-work.
Looking Forward to 2016
These were just some of the interesting and timely sessions that I attended, but there were many more that were equally informative. AHF Annual Conference is never short on networking opportunities either. I hope to see you next year!