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What Are the Top Trends in Healthcare Foodservice?

In many ways, change has defined healthcare over the past decade. 2020 was no exception and will serve as a catalyst for change. COVID-19 irreparably altered the industry and forced healthcare executives to find new solutions.

At Morrison Healthcare, we have a strong dedication to data and analytics that gives us a unique insight into trends in healthcare foodservice. By watching and learning, we can improve outcomes for our patients. Here are some of the top trends in food and nutrition services.

 Hospital admissions recover

At the onset of the pandemic, hospital admission rates dropped as low as 68.6 percent of projections. That will turn around in 2021 as patients opt to receive medical care that was put off. A stable financial outlook will allow hospital food and nutrition services to once again invest in improving the patient experience and menu offering.

 Value-based healthcare comes to foodservice

Value-based healthcare has long been a goal for healthcare organizations. This trend is becoming a focus for hospital food and nutrition services initiatives, which is leading to an emphasis on patient satisfaction.

Technology will lead to increased collaboration

Too often hospital departments work in silos. Technology can unify efforts and create streamlined processes. Every hospital in the country uses an electronic health record (EHR) but with multiple EHR vendors, the systems are unable to connect across platforms. Finding technology solutions within food and nutrition services that link with a hospital’s EHR will be critical going forward in order to align operations and create efficiencies.

Mobile phones are changing foodservice operations

QR Code Menus are one of the trends in healthcare foodservice
QR code menus are now used to order patient meals.

As mobile phones have become ubiquitous, patients want to integrate their devices into the dining experience. This trend was sped up during the COVID-19 response. Hospitals added more mobile ordering options and QR code menus to order patient meals. These innovations are here to stay and will continue to evolve to meet the diner’s expectations.

Convenience and comfort will drive the patient experience

Patients are consumers and they have expectations around hospital foodservice. In light of the pandemic, survey results show a varying level of comfort with the dining experience:

  • 80% feel comfortable with ordering ahead for pickup outside of the cafe
  • 75% feel comfortable with delivery
  • 71% feel comfortable and safe ordering ahead and going inside to pick up food

Food and nutrition services will be defined by how departments address these comfort levels and find solutions that meet patients, staff, and visitors where they want to be served.

That is a just taste of what we’re looking at going forward, but there’s much more. Click here to download the 2021 Trends Report: Finding the Next Normal to get the full story.

 

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