A popular saying reminds us that the way to a person’s heart is through his stomach — an axiom proven through a new study highlighting the importance of serving meals with a smile in a hospital environment because it can significantly change the way a patient judges the hospital and its services.
The study’s author, Martin Ostensen, is a Master of Health Administration student in UNTHSC’s School of Public Health and dedicated his recent research to analyzing any correlation between positive meal nutrition experiences in hospitals and the higher satisfaction scores given by patients.
As a part of the Master of Health Administration internship project for the Office of Patient Centeredness at Baylor Scott and White Health, Dallas, Martin Ostensen compiled data from months of research, hospital site visits, and assessment.
The researcher came to realize that a positive hospital experience is driven by a genuine interaction between food service workers and patients; knowing the patients’ names, acknowledging their preferences and needs, and making them feel important are all key aspects.
Regarding food service methods — the traditional tray delivery at set times or the room service, which includes meals being served within 45 minutes after being ordered by patients that have a menu with several options to choose from — Ostensen that the type of delivery is less important in patient satisfaction; the staff attitude matters the most.
“The staff who made patients a priority, knew the mission and intentionally lived it out at the patient level came through as the real ‘rock stars.’ They had a joy in their hearts. They were different,” he added.
Ostense has an impressive list of credentials to which he will add this new study upon his graduation in 2015, including a Master of Business Administration degrees from both Cornell University and Queen’s University, Ontario, in Canada, and a law degree from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.