Can You Yelp Hospital Food?

Yelp Cambro BlogWith over 138 million visits each month, Yelp has become one of the most trusted consumer sites on the Internet. Although typically used for restaurants and cafes, hospital food is also beginning to receive reviews by Yelp users, who often post pictures along with their critiques. In this way, Yelp is following the lead of services such as Press Ganey, which seeks to improve patient experiences and increase feedback to hospitals through a philosophy of listen, learn, and lead.

Now that they are receiving an increase in direct feedback, it is important that hospitals get positive reviews in order to remain competitive and retain business. Many medical facilities are even going above and beyond their normal offerings in order to satisfy their inpatient stays. For instance, The New York Times has reported that some hospital chefs have begun serving lobster tails, while patients at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital regularly dine on heirloom tomatoes and New York Strip Steak.

On the other end of the spectrum, hospitals that feature poor food selections are suffering from bad reviews. A FierceHealthcare article panned the food at a Houston hospital, which it called bland and stigmatized. Yelp users did not spare also gave the hospital a middling 3 stars and described their food as “very bland” and “pretty bad.”

Although hospital patients and visitors now have the power to give instant (and very public) criticism to hospitals, this does not mean hospitals should be afraid. Rather, this is a great opportunity for them to identify problems and come up with effective solutions. For instance, Press Ganey can provide targeted analytics and has an improvement program for all facets of a hospital stay, including cuisine. As an example, the Tahoe Forest Hospital in California took notice of the poor ratings their inpatient dining options were receiving, and were able to quickly make positive changes, such as revamping its cafeteria, hiring an executive chef, and implementing a sample table for staff to rate potential selections before they hit the menu.

As a result of their efforts, the Tahoe Forest Hospital’s food service moved from a ranking in the 17th percentile to one that consistently ranks above the 90th percentile. In addition, Tahoe Forest Hospital garnered an award for its improvement in quality and excellence for its fare at the Healthcare Food Service Industry Conference.

Hospital Cafeteria - Cambro blogThere are many ways that hospital eateries can remain popular through the review process, whether on Yelp, Press Ganey, or elsewhere. Hospital cafeterias, for instance, can begin by organizing food and salad bars into neat and healthy displays. This is a cheap and easy way to get off to a good start, since reviewers will be quick to criticize any organization if the cannot offer a clean, organized and fresh selection.

As for patient meal service, an attractive tray top presentation along with properly maintained food temperatures are a sure way to improve overall ratings. The Cambro Camduction® Complete Heat System paired with the Shoreline Meal Delivery System can have substantial benefits. The Executive Chef for the Scottsdale Village Square facility in Scottsdale, Arizona shares his views:

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