MyDine Implementation at South County Hospital
South County Hospital (SCH) is a fast-growing community hospital in Rhode Island seeking to provide the best possible experience to its patients while maintaining its identity as an independent healthcare system.
The successful implementation of MyDine™, a technology-enabled in-room patient dining service, is one way that strategic dining partner Unidine is helping SCH to accomplish its goals.
South County Hospital prides itself on being one of the last independent health systems in the state of Rhode Island and in the region. Since patients have numerous choices for where to go for their healthcare needs, competition is extremely fierce. New leadership recognizes this and has found ways to encourage growth while maintaining the hospital’s independence. At SCH, great emphasis is placed on making sure the patient experience is the best that it can be.
At times, SCH’s rapid growth has challenged its existing systems’ capabilities. Patient meal ordering was one such system until recently. Guest Services Representatives would manually cross reference patient dietary needs and restrictions with menu offerings. The process was very tedious and time-consuming, and left open the possibility of human error. In addition, the manual order system sometimes meant that orders took longer than desired to reach patients.
These issues caused a decline in year-over-year dining satisfaction scores administered by Press Ganey. In the second quarter of 2020, Press Ganey scores for Top Box overall dining had reached a record low of 45.3%. Something had to be done.
Based on the declining patient satisfaction scores and increasing labor and food costs, Unidine knew there was a better way. They presented their proprietary MyDine™ solution to South County Hospital. MyDine is an 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. MyDine helps promote healing while providing patients with delight and comfort when they need it most. It also helps increase meal satisfaction, eliminating the issue of late trays.
In a competitive market, SCH viewed MyDine as a differentiator that would help them stand out in a crowd. They recognized the opportunity MyDine provided to reduce labor and food costs and to increase overall patient satisfaction dramatically. It was time to modernize the patient dining experience!
How MyDine Works
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. 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.
Meals are made from scratch à la minute and to order using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. All meals are delivered within 45 minutes to maximize freshness and taste, with extensive quality and dietary checks before being served.
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.
Implementing MyDine™ at a hospital is a detailed process that requires financial commitment, as well as substantial coordination and communication. Unidine provides resources and support to ensure a seamless transition. At South County Hospital, the Unidine support team collaborated with technology partners, hospital IT and management staff. After the SCH Capital Committee approved the project, implementation meetings commenced in October 2020 and went on for roughly six months. Unidine drew on its extensive implementation resources and tools, as well as real-life implementation experience, in order to make the program a success. Thorough pre-launch testing ensured that the technology was functioning at an optimal level and that staff were comfortable with the program and the system. SCH’s customized MyDine program went live on March 3rd, 2021.
Implementing MyDine at SCH meant reconfiguring the kitchen to maximize efficiency. Enhancements to the kitchen at SCH included reorganizing existing kitchen equipment to match the workflows. The implementation team also added a cold deli prep station, three Kitchen Display Systems monitors to display upcoming meal orders and kitchen printers conveniently located next to each prep area.
When MyDine launched, SCH introduced a new patient menu. In addition, trifold paper menus are now placed in each patient’s room prior to check-in, giving the patient the opportunity to review menu options before the Unidine Guest Services Representative takes their meal selections
In the first six months since MyDine™ launched at South County Hospital on March 3, 2021, patient satisfaction increased significantly. Overall dining satisfaction increased by 3.6%. The mean, or average, rating increased by 5.3% and percentile ranking increased by 8% over the lowest-scoring quarter of 2020, Q2.
David Gauvin, Dining Services Director for Unidine, played a huge role in the
implementation of MyDine at SCH. He summarized its impact this way:
“The beauty of MyDine is that it automates all the work that was once done by hand. MyDine has allowed our Guest Services Representatives to redirect their time from putting together and tracking all the patient’s menu orders back into patient services, where it should be. MyDine has saved our team about 4 hours a day per Guest Services Representative. That is 50% of their day in savings!”
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