by Cindy Abole
Sizzling chicken, beef or vegetable fajitas served with a crisp tossed
salad and angel food cake or sherbet for dessert. These and other meals
can be enjoyed anytime by patients in MUSC’s Ashley River Tower (ART).
They are just a couple of heart-healthy tasty foods offered in a
new menu and food service by MUSC’s dietary partner, Sodexho Health
Imagine a patient ordering a hot breakfast, lunch or dinner whenever
they feel like eating between 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Patients can order a
variety of choices including made-to-order omelets, a pasta bar, pizza,
glazed pork, salads and even desserts.
ART dietary services supervisor Laura Cagley scans an AYR ticket.
patient-centered approach to hospital dining provides individuals with
meals made with a fresh, improved taste and with a higher nutritional
value, plus a heightened level of customer service and satisfaction. It
has been available at ART since the facility opened in February 2008,
and will be expanded to patients at the main hospital starting this
This innovative dining concept known as the At Your Request (AYR) Room
Service Dining Program was developed at the Dana Farber Cancer
Institute/Children’s Hospital in Boston and currently is offered at
Sodexho hospitals and health-care facilities across the country.
The AYR program is just one of several multi-phased projects planned
between Sodexho and MUSC to improve food service facilities on campus.
Earlier this year, Sodexho committed to a $5 million capital investment
to MUSC for facility upgrades for kitchens, exhaust systems, servery
areas and dining rooms. Sodexho also has committed to improving patient
meal preparation by installing a computerized, food-to-order
(order-on-demand) system. MUSC will reimburse Sodexho $1.5 million
during the five-year contract period resulting in an overall savings
during these fiscally tight times.
Meal selections from a full, restaurant-style menu, are based upon a
patient’s dietary restrictions as determined by the registered
dietitian, physician and/or unit nurse manager. Those on a modified or
restricted diet can obtain help from a room service assistant. Once an
order has been placed and entered into the computerized ordering
system, the dining services team direct chefs to cook and service line
staff to assemble the trays. Within minutes, the orders are loaded onto
serving carts and delivered directly to patients. ART’s dining services
team guarantees that the patient's meal will arrive within 30 minutes
of the order.
“The concept is very much like how a hotel offers room service for its
guests,” said Brad Masteller, director of dietary services. “In this
case, the patient decides what he or she wants to eat and at what time.
It’s very different from the traditional delivery of patient trays and
This new food service has resulted in increased customer satisfaction,
greater efficiency and less waste, according to Masteller. He and his
staff next will focus on the University Hospital cafeteria renovations
set to begin mid-May.
“This is part of a huge improvement project with Sodexho that
will span the summer. That’s why we’re waiting until May and post
graduation since it will impact staff,” said Lisa Montgomery, vice
president for finance and administration. “Sodexho has come forward to
initiate this project. It’s a win-win situation for our patients, their
families and our food service group.”
Friday, April 10, 2009