Staff on the wards at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) and Furness General Hospital (FGH) can now order inpatient meals using tablet computers on the same day rather than having to fill in a paper form and taking it to catering staff a day in advance.
A staggering 122,333 meals have been ordered on 14 wards at RLI and nine wards at FGH. The old process could take ward staff up to one hour 30 minutes to complete.
Not only do the staff on the wards have more time to spend on patient care, the tablets have significantly reduced food wastage by 45%, which is a reflection of the Trust’s commitment to become more eco-friendly and efficient.
Staff feedback shaped the design of the app, including having clear deadlines for ordering meals and the ability to order items such as custard separately.
A 12 month trial was held on a 31 bedded ward at the RLI before the system was rolled out across the rest of the wards from April to June 2018. The system was rolled out at FGH from August to October 2018.
Lisa Winn, Ward Manager for the RLI’s Lancaster Suite, UHMBT, said: “The project has provided a fantastic opportunity to work more closely with other departments, helping provide a highly efficient service, putting the patient at the forefront while creating measurable cost savings at a time when the NHS is recognised as being most vulnerable.”
Jackie O’ Brien, Catering Manager, UHMBT, said: “The new system is saving time for catering supervisors’ as they no longer have to count meal numbers. The new system does this automatically for them. So they have more time to better provide the services that focus on patient improvements.”
The new ordering system allows meals to ‘follow the patient’ should they be transferred to another ward, as well as providing for swift cancellations if they are discharged.
If a patient is discharged out of hours, a take home food bag is made available. These bags ensure patients will be able to have food and a hot drink once they arrive home.
Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive, UHMBT, said: “I am extremely proud of our I3 and clinical teams who have been involved in the creation of the eMeals system. Staff are not only seeing the benefits of the system but it is improving patients’ experience of our hospitals.”