Hospitals today are under more pressure than ever to boost their Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) customer satisfaction scores as their federal funding hinges on high ratings.
The survey, administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is a standardized method for the federal government to track patient perceptions of hospitals. CMS withholds a percentage of Medicare payments from acute-care hospitals to redistribute nationwide based on quality of care. The HCAHPS survey results account for 25 percent of a hospital’s Total Performance Score, which dictates the amount of money a hospital is reimbursed. Hospitals rely on this Medicare funding, so maintaining high patient satisfaction scores is critical.
Linking Food to Overall Satisfaction
Although there are not specific questions around food on the HCAHPS survey, there are several sections where a positive or negative experience with food service could affect scores. The theory behind this approach is that a positive food service experience speaks to a better overall experience — creating a “halo effect” that trickles down to patient care questions on the HCAHPS patient satisfaction survey.
One director of dining services said that his facility saw an immediate 10 percent increase in patient satisfaction scores after going live with their room-service program.
Revamping the Food Service Experience
As a result, hospitals are seeking new and innovative ways to create a more positive customer experience. One tactic they are employing is a thorough revamping of food service operations to focus on personalized meal options and room service delivery systems.
About 48 percent of hospitals provide on-demand room service for patients, according to a survey of 184 providers by FoodService Director magazine. About 67 percent of facilities with a food and beverage budget over $5 million reported using room service delivery. This modern approach not only cuts down on waste and inefficiencies but can also improve patient satisfaction.
Emphasizing Equipment's Role
With so much riding on quality food service, it’s imperative that the back-of-house is performing at as high a level as the front.
A kitchen performing at maximum efficiency allows a facility to keep up with demand and deliver room service upon patient request. In order to keep the kitchen running smoothly, the equipment used to prepare and deliver the food needs to be properly maintained.
Making Maintenance Top of Mind
Following regular preventative maintenance schedules allows operators to plan ahead and can help avoid emergency situations that negatively impact service. Additionally, authorized service providers offer preventative maintenance packages that can include thorough inspection, cleaning and replacement of certain equipment components depending on the age or wear level.
Even with preventative maintenance, major breaks will happen, but the technician can be aided by technology that helps to ensure the proper fix the first time. The Heritage Parts app with My Equipment360™, for example, allows technicians to reference important manuals, photos, and notes on the go for faster repairs. Expert ID360™, also available on desktop and mobile, offers users a 360 or 720 degree view of parts to assure accurate parts identification. Most importantly, these programs can significantly curtail equipment downtime, ensuring minimal disruptions to your operation.