For years Yelp, the online review hub, has allowed people to research and review local restaurants and businesses. “Yelp-ing” has become as commonplace as “Google-ing.”
Recently, Yelp has expanded its service to the healthcare segment covering the quality, service and sanitary ratings of the 25,000 medical facilities open to review. While foodservice may not be the primary reason for patient interaction with a facility, food quality along with cleanliness are two areas which most people have a framework of reference for and can evaluate. So it should come as no surprise that foodservice has an impact on current Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores and will likely be a major player in Yelp reviews. Similar to commercial businesses who face the risk of receiving negative reviews, healthcare foodservice operators face the same challenge. Therefore keeping up with new food trends, providing quality and innovative options and adding flexible dining options are critical for increasing positive reviews on Yelp.
“Healthcare reform is pushing a lot of these changes. There is a belief that when you have horrible food, it affects your patient satisfaction scores. Patients remember their food … it’s the one thing that comes to them three times a day.” Richard Schenkel, CEO of Unidine.
3 Ways to Impact Yelp Ratings
1/ Patient Meal Quality
This isn’t your parent’s hospital food! As the demand for healthier menu options increases, more hospitals are offering organic, vegetarian and gluten-free menu selections to meet the patient’s diet preference. It is becoming more common for healthcare facilities to hire in-house chefs who specialize in gourmet foods. These dishes are plated with the same aesthetic care as those in local restaurants. Because food temperature continues to be the chief complaint from patients and therefore affects patients’ satisfaction scores, using a reliable heating system such as Cambro’s Camduction Complete Heat System can be an efficient solution.
2/ Flexible Meal Service
Providing better food quality doesn’t stop at the plate. More than 45% of U.S hospitals have already converted to on-demand room service which is not only associated with higher patient satisfaction scores but a more effective green initiative coupled cost savings. Providing room service allows patients to be in control of their meal hours. At the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Hospital, food costs were reduced by $400,000 in the first year of its “restaurant-style delivery.” The items not served to patients during peak hours were sent to hospital cafeterias to avoid waste. “It’s been a game changer for us,” shares Angelo Mojica, Director of Food and Nutrition Services. Hospitals providing room service are more likely to receive higher ratings on Yelp than those without.
3/ Mobile Kiosks
The grab n’ go market is on the rise in the healthcare segment and growing upwards of 70%+ . A mobile kiosk can be the right solution with little upfront investment. Visitors can enjoy a quick meal and spend more time with their relatives without having to leave the facility or stand in long cafeteria lines. To maximize profit, it’s critical that the selection of items offered such as sandwiches, salads and snacks, along with quality and price, are comparable with nearby cafeteria locations.
While improving healthcare foodservice may have been the main motivator for patient satisfaction scores and increased government reimbursement, we are about to learn that the general public will likely turn to Yelp to discover immediate and unbiased ratings for all types of healthcare facilities. Foodservice operators will have the opportunity to access these reviews to help identify problem areas as well as to see which areas of their operation shine bright under the spotlight of public opinion.
For information on foodservice solutions to help your patients and patient satisfaction scores, contact your Cambro Healthcare specialist.