Trends in the use of technology in hospital menu system

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Title: Trends in the use of technology in hospital menu system
Author: Wunder, Karen
Abstract: As the twenty-first century approaches, hospital foodservice directors are faced with the conflicting tasks of cutting costs in response to various budgetary restraints while also providing quality service to customers with increased expectations in an increasing competitive environment. New technologies such as computerized, interactive menu systems have been developed in an attempt to offer increased customer satisfaction while also cutting costs at all levels. The focus of this study was to determine how hospitals nationwide were responding to the dilemma of cost cutting while achieving increased quality standards and in what ways technologies were being embraced to provide service excellence at cost savings. The study sought to identify the most commonly utilized menu systems in US hospitals and to identify trends in the use of recent technologies for such menu systems. Questionnaires were sent to 300 hospitals from 41 states and Washington, DC. Programs and routines in the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS-X, version 2.1, 1986, SPSS, Chicago, IL) were used for all data analyses. One hundred and thirty-five (47%) of questionnaires sent were returned. Results indicated that 3 of the 135 respondents were utilizing automated menu display systems, the majority (70%) of hospitals were still utilizing handwritten methods for recording menu choices. Of automated systems utilized for recording menu choices, 12.6% were using a computer in the diet office, 3% were using hand-held computers, 2.2% were using voice activated computers, and 0.7% were using scanners. The question was not applicable for 9.6% of respondents who offered a non-select menu, and 1 .5% of hospitals who indicated that they serve meals immediately as ordered. The majority of respondents indicated that they were somewhat satisfied with their current menu system regardless of whether or not they had an automated system in place. Most respondents indicated that they would consider automation in the future.
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Date: 1998

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