Thomas “Dusty” Deringer, Ph.D., vice president, patient experience for Compass One Healthcare, likens a dining director making rounds on the hospital floors to a restaurant manager coming around to the tables mid-meal and asking, “How is everything?”
“We’ve always rounded on patients; that’s nothing new. But at first it was done on paper, then on spreadsheets,” Deringer says. “In the past, it’s been done manually, tabulating results. And we’ve really struggled to identify trends and things we could focus on organizationally, outside of individual units.”
Three years ago, the team began searching for a more streamlined solution…essentially asking, “Is there an app for that?” It turns out there is: MyRounding software compiles patient data and synchs it up, all in real-time.
In a pilot program over the past few months, 200 of Compass’ Morrison Healthcare accounts have started using MyRounding, with tablets that are linked together through the magic of technology. It’s part of Compass One Healthcare’s Positive Impressions program, which emphasizes the importance of creating a favorable impression with patients by providing the best possible experience during their hospital stay.
The app must be customized for specific menu items at individual accounts, but other than that, it’s a pretty uniform system, measuring patient satisfaction related to the quality, courtesy and temperature of each meal delivered. The uniformity is something Deringer says is a big piece of the puzzle.
“One of the things we wanted to do as an organization was to make sure everyone was using the same tool, because it becomes extremely difficult to aggregate data that’s different,” Deringer says, adding that sensitive patient information is never used, only room numbers, taking out that potential pitfall from the equation.
The uniformity also allows each account to set up MyRounding more quickly than a traditional system, Deringer says. “It’s allowed us to get our speed to market to be much faster. We can get this up and running in an organization in less than a week, as opposed to weeks or even months.”
But for Deringer, from a companywide standpoint, the most striking part about the new system is the real-time aspect.
“Midafternoon, we could be having a stand-up meeting down in the kitchen,” he says, describing a typical scenario. “Managers, the culinary team, operational managers, we’re all there. We’re able to see what patients think about what we’re doing in real time. If we get complaints about a certain food item, it can be changed in time for the next service.”
At the first four large U.S. hospitals in the pilot program, the results have been a 5.3% increase in patient satisfaction scores. By the end of next year, Deringer predicts at least 100 more accounts will be using the software.
The pilot program took place in a diverse range of acute-care hospitals, including Ochsner Medical Center near New Orleans, Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“What’s cool about this is the front-line hospital staff—the nutrition services department—can get this information in real time and their regional director can see it, too, along with the regional VP, they can all see a aggregated view of their world and the overall organization,” Deringer says. “I think moving forward it will influence our decisions about how we approach meal service, the type of food we serve…it’s a game-changer that will broaden our horizons.”