There have been more than 400 of you digging into the complexity of hospital food with us, submitting solutions to get more local food into patients meals. Thank you! We are getting close to the end of our crowdsourcing project and thought we would share some project updates.

Soothing Food

Soothing foods

More than 170 foods were shared from UHN visitors, patients and staff online or on the ground. We’ve been impressed by the diversity of food you go to when sick or injured. Between various cultural backgrounds, personal tastes and appetite at designated meal times, there are plenty of factors affecting what our patients eat. The grand prize from this survey is definitely soup: Chicken, Minestrone, Vegetable, Won-ton, Congee, Matzo Ball Soups and many more. Nutrition Services had great intuition when they brought back soup to the UHN menu after 3 years of absence. Way to go!

You have until October 2nd to share your own soothing food, and we love pictures!
>> Share your go-to food when sick or injured now

Raising the profile of food in hospital

As you know our goal is to go from “step 0 to 1” in raising the profile of food in patient care. Many actions need to be taken for food to be better regarded as part of recovery. We think local food can be a great ally in achieving this goal and so do you. You’ve shared 50 ideas to change the way staff think of food in patient care. You have been very supportive in getting volunteers to Feed our Patients and Distribute Fresh Fruits. The liability and workforce issues associated with these ideas makes them difficult to pilot in the short term. Can you give your thoughts on the ideas with simplier first steps?
The Hospital Food Diet, CSA Membership Prescribed by Doctors, Planting Seeds for ChangeKitchen Tour/Open House,
Doc Talks.

Using Local Food to Generate Revenue

Neighbouring hospitals have been able to incorporate more local food by relying on their cafeteria to process and cook menu items. As you know, we don’t have a cafeteria in our main sites, and with the possibility of adding 200 new beds by next year, we will need to be creative in generating revenue for the procurement of prepared local food. You’ve shared 40 ideas to do so, and our panel selected the following for your input: UHN-wide fundraising CSA, Food Catering to Out-patients, Hospital Meal Gala 2.0 Gala Dinner, Food Fair, Cooking Event

Advisory Panel Review

Our team of 10 advisory panel members includes UHN Nutrition Services, Dietitians, Energy & Environment, ELLICSR kitchen and external members from the Canadian Coalition for Green Healthcare, Real Food for Real Kids and George Brown College. We have brainstormed selection criteria to identify 2-4 rapid prototypes to be implemented this winter. Here is the list we came up with:

  • Uses local Ontario food
  • Raises the profile of food in hospital
  • Keep staffing in balance
  • Financially sustainable or generating revenue
  • Can be implemented before February 2015
  • Is unique to healthcare
  • Is measurable

The rapid prototypes will be testing ideas against our main assumptions, providing the data needed to move forward. We believe in the “fail quickly” mentality. Nothing worse than spending a lot of time and investment on an idea that doesn’t work. We will adapt our protocols as we go, optimizing our process to confirm new assumptions.

The crowdsourcing website will collect your feedback until October 2nd.
Stay tuned for awards!