Tech top of mind at HFM confab

Tech top of mind at HFM confab

TUCSON ARIZ. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

HFM’s annual conference, titled “Imagine the Possibilities” and held at the Westin La Paloma Resort here, drew more than 600 attendees to discuss such issues as obesity, the impact of foodservice operations on the environment, and the importance of bench-marking results. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Mark Krasnow, chief executive of Bullseye Resources Inc. in Sudbury, Mass., said trends to watch include: —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

The change from “patient” to “consumer” —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Increased use of data, evidence and measurement —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Increased use of information technology, particularly the electronic medical record, or EMR —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Greater focus on costly chronic diseases —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Changing incentives for providers —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Increased emphasis on prevention —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Two other front-of-mind topics for health care foodservice professionals are the possibility of a major disaster or pandemic, such as was feared with the recent avian flu concerns, and the growing obesity rates in the U.S. population. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

“The cultural shift in health care requires greater use of data and evidence in all decision making,” said Krasnow. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

There is a growing need for foodservice operations “to be linked with hospital information technology initiatives like the EMR,” he added. These tools allow the entire system to include dietary information and diet preferences for patients in one place. Those initiatives also would help in benchmarking to measure results, he noted. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Emphasis on stemming some of the skyrocketing costs of health care will affect foodservice operations in hospitals and care facilities, Krasnow said. Professionals will face greater pressures to cut costs in operations and labor and to standardize products, he said, adding that growing interest in sustainability will require foodservice departments to do more recycling, composting and cutting back on energy use. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

In addition, foodservice will be called upon to help patients with illness prevention, he predicted. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

One of the HFM Spotlight Awards, given to innovative foodservice programs that provide results, went to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., which created a hospital- and home-use DVD for cardiac patients. The “Helping Heart” DVD provides simply presented diet and nutrition information. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

“The dietitians and dietetic technicians were able to effectively and efficiently interface with more patients and family members by giving out the DVD,” said Marcus Garand, a dietitian at the hospital. “It was a much easier thing to do.” —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Each DVD cost less than $2, and the portability allowed cardiac patients and their families to take the DVD and watch it when they were prepared to watch, he said. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

“They can watch it when they are mentally and physically ready,” Garand said. “That readiness to learn is something that we all deal with in the hospital.” —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

The hospital is working on a similar DVD for children, which contains a “Food Man” cartoon character, he noted. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

The second Spotlight Award went to the Heritage Valley Health System in Beaver, Pa., which implemented hotel-like room service to address the growing demand from patients for better service. Krasnow said foodservice departments are under increasing pressure to create more individualized meals for patients and to be able to measure results. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Tracy Vucinic of Heritage Valley said the system serves two campuses, one with 350 patients and the other with 150. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

“We were getting a lot of complaints about the quality of food before the change, and our food waste was high,” she said. “And as a result our costs were high.” —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Since the program began several years ago, patients have expressed high levels of satisfaction, she said. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

During the group’s business meeting, Linda Lafferty, 2006-2007 president of HFM and director of food and nutrition services at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said HFM teams have worked on upgrading the organization’s website and conducting marketing surveys. The organization had an 8-percent increase in membership over the past year, she said. —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.

Lafferty’s successor as HFM president is Mary Angela Miller, administrative director at the Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Miller said new initiatives include a culinary team “to develop and implement plans to attract more culinary members.” —Growing rates of obesity and advances in technology are among the trends that will affect healthcare foodservice in the years ahead, said experts at the 2007 National Training Conference for the Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management.