Assistant Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

July 8, 2019

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New technology solution could save hospital food wastage

WiFi SPARK, a provider of WiFi and technology solutions for hospitals, announced a new partnership with catering software company Datasym to help reduce food waste and encourage nutritious meal options.

The collaboration of Datasym technology and SPARK Media’s WiFi, will enable hospital patients to order meals using their own internet connected devices.

CEO of WiFi SPARK, Matt O’Donovan, explained that the “SPARK Media platform is all about providing a better experience for the patient, and with the meal ordering services available through SPARK Media, not only are we able to bring the hospital experience in line with consumer expectations, we can significantly reduce food waste and save hospitals hundreds of thousands of pounds per year”.

The combined solution effectively replaces the current pen and paper process of meal ordering, reduces food waste and provides significant cost savings to hospitals.

Food wastage is a growing concern for the healthcare industry. According to WRAP, food waste costs the healthcare sector £1,900 a tonne. The ERIC 2017/2018 report showed that the NHS inpatient services wasted over 273 tonnes of food over a 12-month period.

SPARK Media has the potential to save up to £182,000 per year in food-related errors for the average 600-bed hospital.

Hospitals that currently use the traditional method to collect meal orders, face significant costs associated with printing forms, delivering and collecting them on hospital wards. This approach can also create health errors, as staff can mistakenly offer meal choices to patients who can’t consume food orally or offer diabetic patients options that may be a risk to their health.

With the Patient Administration Systems (PAS) that SPARK Media has integrated with, medical conditions and history can be taken into consideration when patients order their meals. The PAS integration also means that patient’s location can be tracked, ensuring that food is not wasted. SPARK Media also gives patients the option of different meal proportion (small, medium and large), to decrease the amount of excess food wastage.

Managing Director of Datasym, Chris Jones commented that “food wastage is a huge problem for hospitals, which is why we’re really happy to be partnering with WiFi SPARK to give patients, and hospitals, a better way to order food.”

The Datasym and SPARK Media partnership allows patients to view specific nutritional information for meals, helping to promote healthier choices. For example, embedded allergy settings will mean patients are only presented with food that is caters to their health needs and won’t be able to select certain foods from the menu, avoiding confusion and additional health risks when in hospital. Those on stricter diets will also have different options available.

“With mounting pressures on hospitals to provide nutritional meals, the integration of our technology with the SPARK Media platform ensures patients are able to make better food choices, all the while reducing pressure on staff, and on hospital budgets”, says Managing Director of Datasym.

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