Sint-Trudo Hospital in Sint-Truiden offers a wide range of care with all basic disciplines as well as certain highly developed ones. A good patient experience is a priority for the hospital, and meals play a major role in this. Therefore, Sint-Trudo Hospital wanted to increase patient satisfaction and organise meals more efficiently. To this end, in recent years it has implemented C-Meal and the accompanying patient app to organise meals in the hospital, with results.
"For almost all patients, the meal is a bright spot in their day, something to look forward to," says Martine Vanrusselt, Hospitality Manager at Sint-Trudo hospital. "This means that expectations are very high when it comes to the meal. Patients are therefore quick to complain if they do not like the meal. We also welcome this, because then we can see where we can still improve our services."
Complexity of the meal service
Supplying meals is therefore quite a challenge in a hospital environment. "You have to meet the expectations of the patient every day, but also provide quality meals that are tasty, healthy and varied and meet hygiene and patient safety standards. Dieticians have a hugely important role to play here," says Martine.
“For almost all patients, the meal is a bright spot in their day, something to look forward to.”
Martine Vanrusselt, Hospitality Manager at Sint-Trudo Hospital
"All the different types of diets and allergies, combined with personal preferences (vegetarian, vegan, no pork) mean that there are hundreds of different combinations of meals," explains dietician Charlotte Priemen.
"For each patient you must put together a meal that is adapted to their needs, considering the capacity of the kitchen. This is no mean feat. It should come as no surprise that we have a team of around 45 people working in the dietary department. Together we process about 300 meals a day, including the cafeteria."
“For each patient you must put together a meal that is adapted to their needs, considering the capacity of the kitchen. This is no mean feat.”
Charlotte Priemen, dietician
Implementation of C-Meal simplifies administration
To further digitalize the dietary department, Sint-Trudo Hospital decided in 2012 to implement C-Meal, as a successor to Magister. An upgrade followed in 2020, in combination with the implementation of the patient app. "In the first phase, we rolled out the app in one department as a test project," says Mieke Claes, Head of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"In the current way of working, a dietician visits the patient to register the meals. This is very time-consuming. With the patient app, we hope to make that process more efficient by letting patients choose their own meals. Of course, such a switch takes time and is a long-term project."
More time for what counts
"We used to spend a large part of the day on meal queries and entering the meals into the system," Mieke continues. "Today, there are still patients who want or need to be questioned manually, but this number is decreasing. The more people use the app, the less administrative burden for the dieticians. And the more time they will have to do clinical work, which is their main task. Thus, people who need a dietician are given priority."
“The more people use the app, the less administrative burden for the dieticians. And the more time they will have to do clinical work, which is their main task.”
- Mieke Claes, Head of Nutrition and Dietetics at Sint-Trudo Hospital
"Another big advantage for dieticians is that they can easily consult the allergens of each meal or food in C-Meal,’ adds Charlotte Priemen. This increases patient safety, which is of course a top priority for the hospital."
"We used to use a folder with technical data sheets to check the allergens. That was very cumbersome, and the data was quickly out of date. Cegeka recommended that we work with an allergen tool. In the end, we chose Fooddesk. They ensure that the technical data sheets for foodstuffs are kept up to date. By linking the Fooddesk software and C-Meal, all recipes and allergens in C-Meal are much more up to date," Charlotte explains.
Better patient experience
"The patient app is also easier for the patients," Mieke continues. "Where we used to visit the patient every day, we now only do so on the first day of their admission. That first moment of contact is important for dieticians and patients. We generally ask about their preferences and what we need to consider and only visit them if extra follow-up is needed. In principle, after that first contact, patients choose their own meals via the app, if they so wish."
“Where we used to visit the patient every day, we now only do so on the first day. That first moment of contact is important for dieticians and patients.”
Mieke Claes, Head of Nutrition and Dietetics at Sint-Trudo Hospital
"Not all patients are proficient in it yet, but it’s getting a little better every day. We explain how it works and supply a QR code and URL where patients can go to order their meals. The patient app is thus accessible through two channels: MyNexuzHealth and the QR code."
"For patients, the patient app therefore has added value," says Mieke Claes. "It offers greater comfort, as patients feel they have more influence on their choice of meal. We also see this in the positive reactions from patients."
In close cooperation
"Mieke and Charlotte have shown great commitment to this project and are working closely with Cegeka to make it a success story. The cooperation with Cegeka is excellent," concludes Martine Vanrusselt, Hospitality Manager.
"They are always ready to listen when we have questions or problems. And if we have ideas to improve the app, they at once check whether it is possible and whether it would also help other hospitals. During the consultations, suggestions often come up, for example of how other hospitals organise their meals. Moreover, our consultant, Inge, is herself a dietician with hospital experience. We speak the same language, and she understands our needs. In this way, we arrive at the very best solutions."
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