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This months Spotlight shines on the brand new RTS unit from Burlodge, which was first introduced to the marketplace in August 2004.

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Independant vs Shared Food Services
In summary, number of overall trends occurring in health care are causing us to rethink and reengineer the means by which food service can be provided. Funding realities are changing - while at the same time, fiscal responsibility, patient satisfaction, quality and health care reform are becoming high priorities.

A number of restructuring initiatives are driving changes, such as the regionalization of health care management in Canada's Provinces and Communities. Within these changes, health care providers have the chance to be proactive in determining how the future of nutrition and food service should be directed and planned - independent or shared?

Shared food services is an evolutionary process rather than a fixed concept. It is not simply a central commissary (although centralized food procurement and production may be part of a shared food service initiative). The functions normally shared or rationalized in a multi facility based food service system include:

  • Standardization of menus and meal delivery formats for specific customer groups;
  • Rationalization of clinical nutritional care practices;
  • Common purchasing;
  • Shared food production/procurement;
  • Centralized meal assembly, distribution and ware washing;
  • Joint development of computerization,
    - hardware and software
    - databases;
  • Shared management and administrative procedures;
  • Development of a system wide human resources plan; and
  • Strategies for increased revenues in retail services.

In its most highly evolved form, shared food services offers the following benefits:

  • Maximum potential for reduced food services operating costs;
  • Reduced capital investment (in terms of individual replacement of existing dated kitchens and equipment);
  • Possible freeing up of space within the participating facilities for other users;
  • Enhanced purchasing power;
  • Enhanced quality by meeting new service demands of a wide group of participants;
  • Making new technologies affordable through collective utilization;
  • Making available a wider range of pre-prepared high quality food products;
  • Making service formats and timing more flexible;
  • Allowing costs for nutrition and food services to become more "variable" dependent on usage by the participating hospitals and organization, and
  • Possible reduction in non-patient food service deficits