Bedside Ordering With a High-Tech Personal "Touch"
(Food Management Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The nutrition aide enters the patient’s room, asks how she
is feeling and what she would like for dinner, as well as breakfast
and lunch the next day. He runs through the choices for each meal
in turn all of them appropriate to any special diet
restrictions this particular patient may have and logs the
requests. The encounter ends with a cheerful “I’ll be
back soon with your lunch” as the aide heads off to see his
This scenario would not be terribly unusual except for one detail.
All of the information the aide reads, from the patient’s
diet regimen to the day’s choices, as well as the actual
order entry of the patient’s meal selections, is done on an
Apple iPad touchscreen tablet computer.
At the thousand-bed Ohio State University Medical Center in
Columbus, 15 nutrition aides make such rounds each morning with
iPads in hand. The easy-to-use devices incorporate a software
program called Concero for which OSUMC is serving as an early
adopter. The project went active last fall.
“We actually started looking at it as we went to an on-demand
system and wanted a way to provide bedside support,” says
Nutrition Services Director Julie Jones. “Because of the size
of the patient population, we were looking at technology solutions.
We also needed something that would work on multiple platforms:
touchscreens, computers, even TVs since we’re looking at that
for direct patient ordering in the future.”
Jones adds that the program is also able to incorporate pictures,
which will be a key component of an interactive patient menu OSUMC
is planning, and easy to use. “It’s very user-friendly
and familiar because so many people are used to being
online,” Jones adds. That will be a key consideration in the
future when the program is put in the hands of patients so they can
enter their own orders.
The ease of use made training simple. “It didn’t take
very long,” says Laura Meadows, a system analyst for OSUMC
Nutrition Services. “The staff was very excited to begin
using iPads. The program is very simple to use. The interface was
built by our web team and adapts to where it is being used. You
just select from a menu of current inpatients for a particular
tower or location, select the meal and enter the
The nutrition aides who take the orders go around each morning to
collect meal requests for that evening’s dinner and the
following day’s breakfast and lunch. Currently, the aide
reads off the selections but eventually there will be physical
menus in each patient room, Meadows notes. The selections for each
patient are only those that meet individual dietary restrictions,
if any. Each aide works with a specific population, usually ranging
from 30 to 50 patients. They not only take the orders but also
deliver the food in order to establish a personal connection and
get to know preferences.
The orders are stored in the iPad until the time comes to print
tray tickets, when the trayline is ready to begin. The selections
usually include a chef’s special plus customized sandwiches
and salads. There is also an all-day breakfast option.
OSUMC will have even greater need for such high-tech solutions as
it proceeds with ambitious plans to expand its capacity by some 400
beds in the next couple years. Meanwhile, the onsite dining program
is also undergoing a modification in preparation for a room service
based patient dining system that Concero will be part of.
© 2012 Penton Media
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