Improving Patient Satisfaction
A dining and facilities management partnership between Aramark and Pennsylvania based not-for-profit health system, Main Line Health (MLH), has contributed to better patient scores and levels of nursing engagement.
By delivering innovative programs and scaled delivery, Aramark was able to support Main Line Health in achieving measurable outcomes – with the health services provider’s Environmental Services department embracing a new patient engagement strategy and services delivery model, and its Dining Services department embracing an innovative new menu and technologies to improve foodservice delivery.
“I am the Patient Experience”
To increase patient satisfaction scores, Main Line adopted a new philosophy toward its operations, based on the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework for Healthcare. Under the theme: “I am the Patient Experience,” the healthcare network created an engagement program where all activities inherently focused around the patients and their families.
As the provider of environmental services, Aramark quickly embraced this program by hiring a dedicated facilitator, training more than 100 staff, and exhibiting the desired behaviors across six facilities within the network. “Huddle Boards” were created to maintain communication with staff, reinforce messaging and share performance results. Adoption of the program by Aramark became a model for other departments on how to execute patient engagement. The Aramark facilitator was asked to train many of the remaining 11,000 employees on the “I am the Patient Experience,” leading to further adoption of the “Huddle Boards” among other internal departments. Communication between EVS and nursing staff improved, creating a better experience for both patients and clinical staff.
In addition to patient engagement efforts, the team focused on creating a scalable, efficient model for the delivery of environmental services. Operations were consolidated under a single leadership. Best-in-class staffing ratios were achieved through smart scheduling, measurable staffing models and equipment innovation. PatientCONNECT, a hand-held, patientrounding tool, was also implemented.
Boosting Nurses’ Moods
To create real change in Main Line Health cafés, Aramark first conducted its Nurse Food survey to understand the experience with the current cafés and food offerings. The results demonstrated a correlation between good food and mood, as well as a desire for food variety—especially international cuisine. Over 83 percent of its nurses said they frequently feel rushed at mealtime. Meanwhile, a whopping 88 percent agreed that good food has a positive impact on their mood. Also, over 67 percent of nurses said they weren’t satisfied with the variety of ethnic offerings in the hospital cafés.
The healthcare network piloted its café changes at Lankenau Medical Center. Kiosks sped up the dining experience, enabling nurses to receive their food faster, enjoy their meals and feel refreashed when they returned to work. Aramark’s Restaurant Rotation provides increased menu variety. It provides an everchanging rotation of global cuisines implemented one week at a time throughout the year. The concept features on-trend menus, such as a Korean BIBIM Box, globally inspired ancient grain dishes, and American roadside favorites. These changes have resulted in an increase in higher dining satisfaction scores—a more than 14 percent increase in just one year.
When hospitals design their cafés in ways that respect nurses’ time, deliver dining variety and enable meal customization, the results will be positive. The results Lankenau achieved after launching these dining innovations even exceeded its own goals. It lead to both further menu expansion, as well as a rollout schedule for all of the healthcare network’s cafés.
Top Win in Facilities
One of the first steps in transforming the culture at Main Line Health was establishing awareness of the patient-centric message to the 11,000-member staff across the network. The goal was for the employees to understand and embrace the organization’s new theme, “I am the Patient Experience.” Aramark’s Patient Experience expert enthusiastically helped to develop the educational program, including an orientation class, a two-hour deep dive course, and subsequent, refresher courses. A “Train-the-Trainer” approach delivered the program to existing and new employees as they came onboard.
The team embraced the “I Am the Patient Experience” by hiring an IAPE facilitator, and training 100 percent of its current and new staff. In addition, on-site staff seamlessly adopted all of Main Line Health’s Patient Experience language and tools (i.e. AIDET Execution, Patient Experience Assessment and Occupied Room Observations), while modifying their existing tools to reflect Main Line Health’s content.
Newly created “Huddle Boards,” a centrally located bulletin board for communicating performance news and timely messaging, maintained employee communication. The bulletin’s content aligned with the new cultural theme and featured daily updates on each unit’s scores. Team members could visualize their progress toward assigned goals and tasks. The “Huddle Boards” satisfied a dual purpose for the staff members: Daily reinforcement of the new guiding theme and encouragement to meet their unit goals. The “Huddle Boards” garnered so much attention and success around the hospital that other departments adopted them as well.
Top Win in Cafés
Aramark leveraged its popular kiosk ordering concept to help hospitals overcome the timecrunch challenge facing most medical workers, which comprise 80 percent of the Lankenau café’s clientele. Nurses and other staff members at Lankenau experience an improved dining experience via innovative technology that enables them to more efficiently use their break time, thanks to speedy service and order customization. Kiosks at the grill, sandwich station and two entry points to the café enable customers who know what they want to use their break time more efficiently.
The cafés are also paying more attention to what customers order, and making profitable additions based on that insight. For example, the organization found that many café users order avocado as an add-on item, so it expanded the use of the ingredient into several dishes. By providing exactly what customers want, the café improved its upsell rate by 12 percent, totaling $68,500 in incremental revenue. Most importantly, by providing exactly what the customer wanted faster, the café was able to improve customer perception of value through quality, convenience and personalization.
With no other investment in redesign or equipment installation, Aramark leveraged the hospital’s existing café, yet made it more efficient and effective. Now, patrons order their main dish at the kiosk, then collect their drinks, chips, desserts and other side dishes while it’s being prepared. The whole process takes six minutes or less, allowing staff members more time to sit down, eat and enjoy their meals before returning to work—happier and more satisfied.
About Main Line Health (MLH)
Founded in 1985, MLH is a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs with four acute care hospitals, a rehabilitative medicine facility, a drug treatment center, a homecare and hospice facility, an institute for medical research, and five medical centers. MLH is the recipient of numerous awards for quality care and service, including System Magnet® designation, the nation’s highest distinction for nursing excellence, and recognition as among the nation’s best employers by Forbes magazine.
About Lankenau Medical Center
Lankenau is one of the medical centers in the Main Line Health family— and it is one of the Philadelphia region’s most honored and respected teaching hospitals. The 370-bed medical center boasts world-class physicians, a wide variety of diagnostic and treatment options, the latest technology and access to cutting-edge research.