The University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSFMC) has been a regular winner in FM’s annual Best Concepts Awards over the years, but we’re not the only ones to recognize the excellence and innovation of the dining program led by Director of Nutrition and Food Services Dan Henroid.
Last year, Henroid and UCSFMC were named Innovator of the Year by the National Restaurant Association, validating the operation’s bona fides in the entire foodservice community, and in 2013, they were recognized with the Spotlight Award by the Association for Healthcare Foodservices (AHF). Henroid himself won the IFMA Silver Plate in 2012 for his achievements.
And all of those honors came before UCSFMC opened what is certainly the crown jewel of its operations, the brand-new Mission Bay campus, a 296-bed ultra-high-tech facility with a dining service that boasts such cutting-edge touches as robotic TUGs to deliver patient meals and backhaul soiled trays, the 2014 Best Concept Award-winning Smart Choice Smart U wellness aid and bedside tablet computer-based patient meal ordering.
The retail café at Mission Bay also incorporates two new concepts, an organic, sustainable salad bar and a soup concept called Sutro. It also has two 24-hour Smart Choice pantries with RFID stock monitoring and touch tablet-based customer interface to serve off-hours staff with fresh, healthful meal choices.
However, while Mission Bay is certainly a high-profile venture, it shouldn’t detract from the achievements the UCSFMC dining program achieved in its existing facilities at the 450-bed main Parnassus campus and at the Mount Zion location, which now operates as an ambulatory surgical center.
“We’ve gone full blown with all of the concepts we’ve done at the main campus at Mission Bay,” Henroid says. “We try to be a system so that when we launch a new concept we do it at all three campuses. The most recent example is Sutro Soup Co., which offers soups made from scratch. We developed it to help meet our next competitor, San Francisco Soup Co., which will be opening at the Parnassus campus two doors down from our main café.”
Customer appeal in the retail concepts is important because UCSFMC is part of an academic campus with 23 contracted food vendors—half a dozen alone sit right across the street from the Parnassus facility in the UC San Francisco Student Union.
The appeal of UCSFMC’s retail offerings is boosted by Smart Choice Smart U, which makes choosing healthful options much easier by melding a number of technology platforms to provide customers with a highly convenient, easy-to-use wellness aid.
The system inputs UCSFMC’s café recipes into the MyFitnessPal mobile application, into which customers can log their choices through a simple smartphone picture of the bar code on the menu item, and that is then integrated with the Fitbit activity monitor so customers can track both food intake and caloric expenditure on a single platform.
The next health initiative at UCSFMC is the elimination of sugared beverages from all facets of dining operations, from vending and catering through patient and retail dining. Already in effect at Mission Bay, it will be implemented across the entire UCSF organization, both the university and the medical center, this fall.
“We added beverage standards to our Smart Choice program and introduced 12 new beverage SKUs to give more variety at Mission Bay,” Henroid explains. “Most of the changes went into effect Aug. 4 and they will be phased out of all dining operations across the UCSF campuses by the beginning of November.
“As far as I know, we will be the first academic campus to do this across both the university and medical sides,” Henroid proudly notes.
Patient dining is on a roll, with Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores with meal service hitting an all-time high of 88 percent in the most recent survey.
That’s the result of a lot of hard work and constant tracking of performance, Henroid says. “We send out an email to the team each day on how each campus did, how many meals were prepared, how many delivered on time and so forth.”
The tablet ordering at Mission Bay certainly helped drive up those patient satisfaction at that location, with around 40 percent of patient meal orders coming from that system. A credit card option for visitor trays is in the works as well.
Tablet ordering will begin to be deployed at the Parnassus campus this fall with the first unit there getting the system in October. Henroid hopes to have at least three more Parnassus patient units on the system by next June.
The next step in the patient area is a “We’re Done” program to signal when a meal is finished so the soiled tray can be removed quickly.
“Getting dirty trays out of rooms is a major struggle for room service systems in hospitals,” Henroid explains. Plans call for installing a “pick up tray” request into both the touchpad and nurse call systems “to cover all the bases.” The system, initially to be piloted at Mission Bay, will then alert the floor ambassadors to get the tray.
The backhauling of soiled trays to the kitchen is done by the nutrition department’s six TUGs, which also do the tray deliveries. Henroid is in charge of coordinating the medical center’s entire TUG operation, currently totaling 27 units (with more on the way) that do all sorts of hauling and delivery services for multiple hospital departments.
UCSFMC’s third campus, Mount Zion, was an in-patient facility until it was replaced by Mission Bay earlier this year. Now serving as an ambulatory surgical center its onsite foodservice includes a 150-seat café and coffee cart for staff and visitors, plus a hotel style room service for the ambulatory surgical patients.
“And when I say hotel style I mean hotel style,” Henroid says. “I mean metal lids and no plastic on the tray.”
Mount Zion takes patient meal orders through the system’s centralized enterprise call center. Its menu is a subset of the room service patient menu at the other two locations. Meal service at Mount Zion currently is confined to breakfast and lunch between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., but Henroid has preliminary approval to begin dinner service that will last until 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The volume is not huge—only about 15 meals a day currently—but Henroid is considering extending the meal ordering service to visitors and staff with a flat value-priced rate to boost meal counts and generate some extra revenue.
Henroid is also looking to engage some commercial food truck to come to the campuses to serve evening and night shift employees.
Off-hours staff at the various campuses can also access the three micro markets UCSFMC Nutrition Services currently operates. These units feature 5-foot commercial refrigeration units with touch tablets for checkout. RFID tags on meal items automatically signal what has been removed from each unit.
Other initiatives on tap include a year-round farmers market scheduled to open at Parnassus by the end of September, joining the one already operating at Mission Bay. A rooftop garden at Mission Bay is currently more for therapeutic purposes than actually producing anything for the dining operation, Henroid says.
Dan Henroid, MS, RD, director, nutrition and food services
UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay
Ami Bhow, RD, associate director, nutrition and food services
Leila Tabrizi, MS, RD, manager, patient food services
Irene Regala, executive chef
Gina Chico, CDM, senior retail food services supervisor
Heather Weeks Sampior, catering and conference services supervisor
Maria Hetherton, RD, supervisor, inpatient pediatric nutrition services
UCSF Medical Center Main Campus
Pat Booth, MS, RD, FADA, director, nutrition services
Anne Boyle, MBA, RD, assistant director, patient food services
Chuck Davies, associate director, operations and culinary innovation
JoAnn Florendo, business manager
Roy Sullivan, executive chef
Luis Vargas, manager, procurement and distribution services
Jack Henderson, associate director, operations (retired)