Hospitals with high-quality food improve patient satisfaction

Some hospitals find the key to improving patient satisfaction is through their stomachs.

Hospitals across the country have hired professional chefs and now offer hotel-inspired service to improve the patient experience, according to an article from the Portland Press Herald.  For example, Mike Sabo, director of hospitality services at Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford, told the newspaper that food is just one part of the overall stay, but improvements in that area can help hospitals with marketing and patient satisfaction scores.

“There’s no question that people do make choices about their healthcare now, and not just about the clinical outcomes,” Sabo told the Herald. “Clearly, that’s primary, but they’re also looking for the rest of the package that goes with it, and food is a part of it.”

Patient satisfaction ratings are important tools for hospitals in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, though some have suggested too much emphasis is placed in them, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Ryan Conklin, executive chef at UNC REX Healthcare in Raleigh, North Carolina, told the Herald that employing a chef can also have an immediate health benefit for some patients, as their experience can not only improve the quality of food served but find ways to reduce intake of salt or fat. 

At Southern Maine Care, patients order food just as they would when ordering room service at a hotel-choosing what they want from the menu and when they want it. Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine offers a similar style, and Bruce Turner, director of dining services, said the hospital immediately saw a 10 percent increase in patient satisfaction after implementing the room service approach.

- read the article