Sodexo – Empowering Patients through “At Your Request”

  • 4 September 2013 at 10:42
  • sodexo-AT_YOUR_REQUEST

    European hospitals have an opportunity – let’s call it a necessity – to align their business objectives with goals to improve Quality of Life for patients. In fact, this may be the best strategy for withstanding the twin blows of unstable funding sources and increased competition.

    After years of competing to have the best doctors, the best medical equipment and the most advanced technology, the most crucial differentiator for hospitals and healthcare providers has become patient satisfaction. And there is no surer way to achieve patient satisfaction than by improving their Quality of Life during a hospital stay.

    Sodexo has developed a particular expertise in improving the Quality of Life of patients. Over the past 40 years and in some 4,000 healthcare facilities around the world, Sodexo has been providing support services to clinical care with the wellbeing of patients foremost in mind. This experience has led Sodexo not only to a genuine understanding of what patients require but also to a continuous process of developing and deploying new services to improve their Quality of Life.

    One key component to patient satisfaction involves addressing the loss of control they are likely to feel as a result of their situation. Anxiety and distress are often an inevitable part of a hospital stay. The uncertainties of disease and treatment, seemingly interminable waiting times, boredom, fatigue, isolation from family and friends – this all contributes to a general sense of powerlessness. It’s a feeling that may take hold as soon as a patient arrives, from the minute his or her clothing is replaced by a generic hospital gown and a plastic wristband.

    Small gestures can make all the difference when it comes to restoring a patient’s sense of control. Simply giving patients the freedom to choose what they want to eat, when and where they want to eat it has been shown to lead to greater patient satisfaction and to overall Quality of Life improvement.

    With this in mind, Sodexo developed an offer enabling patients to order off an extensive menu whatever and whenever they want, provided the hospital kitchen is open and the food does not contravene any physician-ordered dietary requirements. At Your Request – Room Service Dining®, as the offer is called, provides the patient with freshly prepared meals in 45 minutes or less. Data from two pilot programs in the USA – a 300-bed university hospital and an 800+-bed three-campus network – convincingly demonstrate that personal dining is a potent driver of patient satisfaction. The At Your Request offer is also strongly supported by hospital nurses. When Sodexo handles every step of the meal experience from the patient’s food order, preparation, right up to delivery, nurses are better able to focus on their primary occupation, either caring for patients or other clinical duties. Since empowered patients has been shown to mean more satisfied patients, this offer has led to more comfortable overall working conditions for nurses and other hospital staff.

    In addition to happier and better-nourished patients, and more contented and efficient nurses, there is another upside to the At Your Request® program: less wasted food and reduced food costs. When patients are able to order exactly the type and quantity of food they want, the tendency is for fewer meals to be returned uneaten. According to data from the 350 hospitals in North America where the At Your Request® program was first created and tested, food costs have been consistently lower, with an average savings of between 7 and 8 percent.

    In Europe, after a successful three-month trial on three wards (85 beds), Gelderse Vallei Hospital in the Netherlands signed a seven-year contract with Sodexo to implement At Your Request® throughout the hospital starting in 2012. The hospital board stated that “At Your Request® will be the driver of culture change in our hospital.” While helping Gelderse Vallei stand out from the competition, this partnership will be a showcase for the Dutch and European healthcare markets.

    About Sodexo Group
    Sodexo is the global leader in services that improve Quality of Life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance. With 420,000 employees operating in 80 countries, Sodexo serves 75 million consumers each day through its unique combination of On- site Services, Benefits and Rewards Services and
    Personal and Home Services.

    For over 40 years, Sodexo has helped health care centres improve their performance and provide the best possible health care experience to patients and their families. Sodexo designs, manages and delivers a unique combination of Quality of Life services to 4,300 hospitals in 37 countries. Services include but are not
    limited to nutrition, reception, retail management, logistics, sterilization, biomedical cleaning, biomedical engineering, energy management, facilities management, concierge services and employee benefit programs.

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