Ohio-Based Health Care System Outsources Environmental and Food & Nutrition Services
Achieves productivity, patient throughput, and retail sales
The health system sought to outsource Environmental and Food & Nutrition Services to increase productivity and improve patient care. It also understood the need to invest in technology and equipment to modernize its kitchens, innovate Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) programs for patients and clinical staff, and increase Environmental (EVS) productivity to improve patient throughput.
“Our expertise is clinical care for our patients. We needed a company with industry expertise in EVS and Food and Nutrition Services that could provide the relevant knowledge, skills, training, and technology to match the quality of care we provide patients. Compass One Healthcare has fulfilled that role.”
—COO, Ohio-Based Health Care System
Since it was awarded the contract for EVS and FNS in January 2021, Compass One Healthcare has implemented the following initiatives:
1) Environmental Services
Staffing. The large health system had an urgent need to fill approximately 70 positions for its EVS staff of 340 people to bring it up to full staff. Within one month, these positions were filled and less than 10 percent of these positions have been vacant for the past year. This task was accomplished through a number of actions:
• To attract candidates, advertising was placed on Indeed (using “simple apply”) and Facebook, and a Job Fair was held.
• Compass One hired a dedicated full-time recruiter to interview and select people for open EVS positions. The ability to find qualified personnel and train them quickly has also helped the system fill some of its positions. In 2022, 47 EVS associates accepted jobs with the health system at all of its hospitals.
• Additional training personnel were added to get the new hires quickly up and running.
• To improve the quality of the management team, Compass One relocated key EVS managers from Florida and South Carolina to take on the roles of Operating Manager and Director.
Significant Improvement in Patient Throughput. Before Compass One arrived, each of the system’s hospitals handled its own patient room cleaning, resulting in long waiting times to get patients into beds from the ER. Compass One created the position of Referral Center Coordinator (RCC) to route EVS personnel for all of the hospitals to clean the patient rooms in greatest demand. By centralizing all requests for patient room cleaning through the coordinator, a former nurse, the amount of time to route new patients to a room was significantly reduced and people with special conditions were prioritized.
Technology to Validate, Verify Patient Cleaning. Beginning in early 2022, EVS associates began using Virtual Manager, a software product that enables EVS associates to record each task they complete. Using an iPad, managers can view all tasks completed in real-time, enabling them to route housekeepers to patient rooms and other areas that need cleaning. The software improves productivity, enabling the hospital to move patients to beds much more efficiently. Working with the health system’s leadership team, QR codes were created for anyone to alert EVS associates of bathrooms, physician call rooms, and conference rooms that need to be cleaned immediately. More than 2,100 requests using the QR code were sent in 2022.
Patient Experience Improvements. . Beginning in 2022, the Compass One Patient Experience team moved into full gear. Two Patient Experience Managers – one for the main campus, the other for the additional sites – were added and patient ambassadors are now in all of the hospitals. Using Virtual Manager to record real-time scores, they identify high priority units and visit them regularly. They are averaging 500 visits with patients per week. The Patient Experience managers also accompany nurses regularly on their patient rounds, providing the nursing team with additional support.
“We knew Improving patient throughput was critical to helping our Client meet its goals. By quickly finding and training new EVS associates and working with the health system to establish the role of Referral Center Coordinator, patients are getting care faster. We’re confident our ability to use new technology, such as Virtual Manager, will continue to improve the productivity of EVS associates and have a favorable impact on the patient experience.”
—Paul Easthon Regional Director of Operations, EVS Compass One Healthcare
2) Food and Nutrition Services
Investment in Technology and Equipment. The hospital’s main campus has three kitchens and cafés, and the other hospitals also have a kitchen and café. In its first two years of operations, Compass One invested in upgrading kitchen equipment, cash registers, and back-office technology to better track all items, and control inventory and pricing. It also updated all items for the patient trays, including mugs, silverware, cups, and heaters to keep food warm. New technology is helping patients receive better service, enabling them to order meals from their mobile phones.
Improved Patient Service. Since kitchen space can’t be expanded to accommodate more tray lines, the patient menu has been reduced to 10 items daily plus one featured special. The Compass Location Solution team worked with chefs to continue providing a variety of menu choices, as well as staff to improve tray line processes and to make patient food delivery more efficient. Combined with the new patient phone app, patient food delivery times have been reduced from 68 minutes to 56 minutes.
Innovative Food and Beverage Concepts. Food & Nutrition Services immediately upgraded the menus in all cafés by introducing new recipes, food stations, and rotating brands while also lowering food costs. The rotating brands are trendy, seasonal meals that typically run for one day every few weeks and offer guests more variety and keep hospitals competitive with nearby restaurants. By improving café marketing through digital monitors and signage, as well as food presentation, this approach quickly attracted an increase in customers. Because none of the hospitals had a chef, Compass One hired local chefs and brought in senior-level chefs from around the country to help the new chefs and staff with food taste, nutrition, and presentation in the cafés. In addition, the corporate retail team provided training for all kitchen associates. Customer service has also improved. There are self-checkout lines at the larger hospitals and 24-hour markets are open at two locations, allowing medical staff working late and early morning hours to pick up fresh “grab and go” meals. By mid2023, all hospital employees will be able to access a phone app to order food from the cafés. Finally, each hospital has its own coffee shops. To generate more customer traffic and revenue, Compass One replaced the previous provider with Starbucks to provide a wider variety of beverages and increase revenues.
“Our comprehensive approach to food service has enabled us to provide our client with a wide variety of tasty, nutritious food; attract new customers; and improve customer and patient service. Our marketing and branding programs have enhanced the look and feel of the cafés, and our ability to invest in new technology and equipment will help us continue to make more improvements in the years to come.”
—Donald Baldwin Regional Director of Operations, FNS, Compass One Healthcare
1) Environmental Services
- Patient throughput decreased by 2 hours
- Priority-need patients get into STAT rooms 78% faster
- Virtual Manager increased productivity by 30%
2) Food and Nutrition Services
- 42% increase in Food Service Revenues in 2 years
- 24-Hour Grab and Go Healthier Meals for Clinicians/Staff
- Patient tray delivery time decreased by 12 minutes