Kari Robinson, RD, LD and Senior Clinical Dietitian, at Augustana Care in Minneapolis, MN, knew it was time to look into other nutrition management software systems when their current vendor was not making any enhancements to the system. Not only was innovation stalled; the system was not user-friendly, and was time consuming, and difficult to implement additional sites. In the end, after much research and comparing vendors, Robinson and her team chose MealTracker as their new nutrition management system. MealTracker enables their care settings to efficiently manage menu planning and daily food production processes while controlling costs and bringing better food service to residents.
“MealTracker has a great reputation in the industry,” said Robinson. “I saw many demonstrations of other software systems, but MealTracker was the most user-friendly and had so many options, like Point of Service ordering, that other systems didn’t offer. The decision to move to MealTracker was validated even more when I heard that MatrixCare acquired MealTracker, making it part of the MatrixCare family.” The integration between MealTracker and MatrixCare guarantees census is the same, simplifies workflow for dietary departments, eliminates paperwork, and supports person-centered care. Augustana has implemented MealTracker in three facilities and will add two more facilities by January 2016.
When Augustana implemented their first facility on MealTracker, the initial patient load went smoothly. “We were able to get the system set up the way we wanted and got all the kinks out, and then went ahead and duplicated the database to the 2nd and 3rd facilities and customized as needed,” explained Robinson. “It’s a process that worked well for us. When we bring a facility live, updating residents in the system is easy and much faster than before.”
One of the biggest improvements Augustana has seen since implementing MealTracker is the ease of use, which in turns saves time for staff. “Having a web-based system allows for easy access anytime, anywhere and fewer steps than when we had to log into a server with our previous system,” stated Robinson. “Now we can really focus on our main goal – exceptional food service for our residents.”
MealTracker’s intuitive user interface and key features, makes it a great fit for Augustana. “We have seasonal menus and have already built about a dozen menus. Building and adjusting menus is easy and much less complex than before, including managing diets.” said Robinson. Menus are equipped to show nutritional information at your fingertips, ensuring nutrition goals are met and regulatory compliance. “In addition, the individualized tray tickets available in MealTracker are so flexible and easy to read,” said Robinson. “They include specific notes and special requests for foods which makes preparation smoother and more efficient.” Tray ticket items can be boldfaced, highlighted, italicized and customized in other ways for clear and easy reading.
With an emphasis on person-centered care, MealTracker allows for selective menus which gives residents more choices based on their diet and personal preferences. In addition, staff can easily identify if a resident has any individual needs. “For example,” explained Robinson, “applesauce could be in addition to their meal or replace a part of their meal which other systems couldn’t handle.” Selective menus enable a wide range of service options: dining room, on-demand dining, or allowing a resident to choose multiple days/meals at once.
Another area where Robinson has seen time savings is in the reporting. “MealTracker’s reporting capabilities increase the efficiency of our dietary staff,” said Robinson. ” The four week recipe cycle where everything is consolidated is so valuable. The recipe books are much more concise, making it easier to produce and find recipes. The format of the recipes is much simpler for cooks and dietary aids to read.”
Other key reports used by Robinson and her staff include:
- Daily Production Count Sheets – Displays by meal and prep area and identifies exactly what is needed, lowering costs by reducing food waste.
- Diet Guides – Customizable and easy for staff to generate and follow.
- Resident Diet Listing – Nursing staff gets a consolidated report of diets for a specific unit. One page versus seven pages on previous software.
- Diet count – Used in production, instead of tallying by hand on old software.
- Snack Labels – Saves time by eliminating the need to hand-write and copy label pages.
When talking about the “free” diet card programs available from various food distributors, Robinson points to the above reporting functionality to highlight why a true nutrition management system is the right decision. “Those programs don’t offer the reporting options and complete functionality found in MealTracker. There is no integration and the user ends up doing a lot of work to keep it maintained.”
“I can’t say enough about the staff and support at MatrixCare MealTracker,” Robinson expressed. “It is amazing and makes it so easy to do business with them.” Clients are trained on the product via live webinars, online product help and the on-call support team. “I would definitely recommend MealTracker. We look forward to continuing our relationship with MatrixCare and seeing the innovation with both products.”
Augustana Care is a non-profit organization that provides senior housing, health care and community-based services to older generations and others in need—and helps residents live the lives that most inspire them. Founded in 1896 by Lutheran pastor Carl J. Petri, Augustana Care was originally established to help young women in need of room and board in the Minneapolis area. The organization’s first mission cottage was dedicated on November 22, 1896. Since its earliest days, Augustana Care has been rooted in philanthropy; to begin its work, a committee of six women collected 31 dollars. Generous donors have since continued to help Augustana Care serve a growing number of people. Over the past century, we’ve significantly expanded our services and communities.
- No innovation in old system
- Difficult to implement in additional sites
- Not efficient
- Innovative, flexible and intuitive system
- Time savings for staff
- Cost savings by reducing food waste
- Improved reporting capabilities
- Supports person-centered care