August 19, 2013

The Spice Rack goes hi-tech

CALHOUN — Doctors and nurses aren’t the only ones utilizing the latest technology devices at Gordon Hospital.

The hospital’s cafeteria, The Spice Rack, has also become more hi-tech, says Director of Nutritional Services Russ Couron.

“In the past, we monitored food temperatures with traditional thermometers and recorded them manually in a log book,” Couron explains. “Not only is this method not very efficient, but it is also lacks in accountability.”

To protect patients and patrons from foodbourne illnesses, and to comply with state, federal, and local regulations regarding food safety, the temperature of all food in The Spice Rack must be carefully monitored and recorded.

Thanks to a new computer software program, accompanied by a mobile application on an iPod, this process is now much more reliable and efficient.

“Using a thermometer attached to an iPod, food temperatures are automatically recorded and compiled into a report that I can pull up on my computer at a moments notice,” Couron explains. “Best of all, if there is a problem with the temperatures, I receive an instant alert of the problem.”

The application, called FusionLive, was developed by E-Control Systems Inc. of Sherman Oaks, CA specifically to meet Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements.

“This application provides us with a snapshot of our entire operation on a single screen,” Couron adds. “Reports and graphs are also automatically generated to show trends so that we may immediately incorporate corrective actions and preventative measures to enhance our operation.”

But while huge steps are being taken to improve The Spice Rack’s safety and efficiency, Couron says he isn’t forgetting about what he calls “the little things” either.

“There are a lot of little things that we have also changed recently that may not seem like a big deal, but are actually huge steps in making our cafeteria more appealing,” he explains. “We have completely redesigned our patient trays to make them not only more attractive, but also better at maintaining proper temperatures whether hold or cold.”

The use of Styrofoam and plastic wrap have greatly been reduced, he says, and replaced with more durable containers and lids.

“It’s a bit more work for our staff,” Couron adds, “but it significantly cuts down on our waste and allows us to present a much more attractive meal to our patients.”

Recommendations by patients are leading to additional changes in The Spice Rack that Couron hopes to implement within the coming year.

“We take our patients’ comments and suggestions very seriously,” he says. “One such suggestion that we are working to implement now is a restaurant-style menu.”

Couron is making plans to incorporate a computer ordering system where each patient orders their individual, medically-allowed meal and that order is immediately and wirelessly transmitted from the patient’s room to the kitchen.

“With this process, a member of our nutritional staff will be in every patient room two or three times a day to take their orders and address any nutritional concerns they may have,” Couron explains. “While this will increase our labor, it will significantly reduce our food costs because the patient will only get what they order. Sometimes they just want a salad and a small sandwich.”

In addition, this process will give the nutritional services department more direct contact with their customers.

“Meeting the nutritional needs of Gordon Hospital’s patients is our number one goal,” Couron says. “We never stop searching for ways to improve our service and quality.”


Text Only
  • DFD Firefighters Fight For Air.jpg Area firefighters climbing Atlanta tower to benefit lung association

    Local firefighters are teaming up to participate in the American Lung Association’s 8th annual vertical challenge to race to the top of One Ninety One Peachtree Tower in downtown Atlanta Saturday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Obama gets bill giving docs temporary Medicare fix

    Congress once again has given doctors temporary relief from a flawed Medicare payment formula that threatened them with a 24 percent cut in their fees.

    April 1, 2014

  • Deadline brings high interest for health insurance

    A blizzard, jammed phone lines and unreliable websites failed to stop throngs of procrastinating Americans from trying to sign up for health coverage by the midnight Monday deadline for President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative.

    April 1, 2014

  • Health care website stumbles on last day

    The Obama administration’s health care website stumbled early Monday, falling out of service for nearly four hours on deadline day for sign-ups. After it was fixed, officials plowed ahead with a nationwide promotional drive, almost like getting out the vote on Election Day.

    March 31, 2014

  • Bess Stanford earns Extra Mile Award at Gordon Hospital

    Bess Stanford has been awarded Gordon Hospital’s prestigious Extra Mile Award.

    March 19, 2014

  • Gordon Hospital accepts infant car seat donation

    Gordon Hospital officials were thrilled to receive several infant car seats recently thanks to a program through the Gordon County Probate Court.

    March 19, 2014

  • Dr. Carson 1 mlh.jpg Doctor on call

    Call it the wave of the future or maybe a return to ancient practice. Dr. Stephen Carson’s medical practice sounds a little like both.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two-year extension seen for canceled health plans

    The Obama administration will allow a two-year extension for people whose individual health insurance policies don’t comply with requirements of the new health care law, helping to defuse a politically difficult election-year issue for Democrats.

    March 5, 2014

  • Health law fix for state-run websites

    The Obama administration quietly issued a health law fix Thursday to help states that have had technical problems running their own enrollment websites. It could stir up critics but may help the law’s supporters.

    February 28, 2014

  • Does your insurance plan cover self-inflicted injuries?

    Dealing with a suicide or attempted suicide is stressful enough. Some health plans make the experience worse by refusing to cover medical costs for injuries that are related to suicide or an attempt - even though experts say that in many cases such exclusions aren't permitted under federal law.

    February 27, 2014