Controlling Healthcare Labor Costs Through Foodservice

It is not exactly a secret that the medical system has been under significant stress during the past few years. The coronavirus pandemic placed an unprecedented demand on the hospital system, and the medical field had difficulty keeping up. Furthermore, many hospitals had to absorb unreimbursed medical expenses, impacting healthcare labor costs. This placed significant workloads on everyone, including healthcare foodservice employees. So what can hospitals do to combat rising foodservice costs and a healthcare workforce shortage?

Centralize Food Production

One potential step medical systems can take to combat many of these issues is centralizing food production. Investing in blast chillers and rethermalizing equipment is the first step.

Blast chillers can safely and quickly move hot food from its serving temperature to 41 degrees Fahrenheit in about 90 minutes. By compressing the amount of time it takes for food to cool down, the cellular structure of the food does not get a chance to degrade. As a result, when the food is thawed, reheated, and served later, it will preserve its quality. Blast chilled food also remains outside the danger zone, helping to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Working in reverse of a blast chiller, rethermalizers heat food packages from cold or frozen up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit while also avoiding the food danger zone. In addition to helping with food safety, rethermalizers allow for prepping meals in advance, saving on hospital labor costs.

Preserve Food Longer

When looking at hospital foodservice expenses, finding ways to reduce food waste is essential. Approximately 30 to 40 percent of food in the United States ends up as food waste. Part of that is food that goes bad before being served. 

Refrigerated food is especially susceptible since fruits and vegetables release ethylene which causes them to ripen and spoil prematurely. The Bluezone food preservation system can slow this process down. Using ultraviolet enhanced oxidation, Bluezone eliminates 99 percent of mold, ethylene gas, and bacteria, helping to extend the shelf life of refrigerated foods. 

Speed Up Orders 

Both hospital visitors and staff are on a time crunch when looking for something to eat or drink. Providing quicker service lines can help with peace of mind and fulfilling more orders to increase sales. 

The Concordia Xpress Touch 6 provides a variety of coffee-based options to customers, all prepared in less than 30 seconds. With a choice of hot or cold lattes, espressos, and cappuccinos, along with milk options, there’s enough variety to keep everyone satisfied and lines moving. ADA accessible with easy-to-use touch buttons, the Xpress Touch 6 allows hospital customers to select their own drinks, helping with healthcare labor costs.

Keep Pickups Safe and Sanitary

Ordering food quickly and picking it up with limited face-to-face contact is important to customers in any environment. But it’s essential in a healthcare environment where limiting contact is still top of mind. The Carter-Hoffmann Pickup Cabinet (PUC) streamlines the order process to help customers and staff from start to finish. Eliminating the job of greeting customers and grabbing orders, the PUC provides a helping hand amidst the current healthcare workforce shortage.

Providing the latest technology in online ordering and pickup, the PUC connects with POS systems and mobile apps to handle customer orders and payments. After receiving the order and food is prepared, PUC assigns the order to an empty cabinet and generates a unique QR code sent to the customer’s phone. Foodservice employees place the order in a secure locker with an antimicrobial coating for further protection. The customer can then pick up their order using the QR code to unlock the cabinet without interacting with anyone on staff. Cabinets can be placed in any location and also help funnel pickups away from high traffic areas to help with flow. 

Is your healthcare facility ready to combat labor costs? Skip the line and learn more about the PUC.

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FES Magazine


Topics: Healthcare, Labor Savings