There is a certain negative stigma attached to food being served to patients in healthcare facilities. In fact, Canadian research statistics show that 29% of patients leave healthcare facilities malnourished—a staggering number!
Simon Lizotte, Liam Goodwin and Carmen Kerim, current students from the Mobile Applications Development Program at St. Clair College, are currently in the process of developing a solution to this ‘hospital food’ problem with the hopes of not only changing people’s perceptions about hospital food, but more importantly, to give patient’s access to healthier options.
The project all began at Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit, a collaborative event that engages key groups of stakeholders to create solutions to healthcare challenges. Liam and Carmen decided they wanted to participate in the event. They ended up meeting Simon, formed a group and came up with this idea regarding patient care—to refine the way patients order food at the hospital Ultimately, their idea landed them 1st prize at Hacking Health as well as the People’s Choice award. This included entry into EPICentre’s Founders Program where students and alumni are paid to work on their startup over the course of a semester. Simon, Liam and Carmen eventually came up with a name for their new venture—MedMeals! They started building the first prototype of their application over the summer months and, by the time they began the EPIC Fall Founders program in September, they were already working on a second prototype which incorporated feedback from potential users and stakeholders. MedMeals is now refining their application in preparation for more in depth testing in a hospital or long-term care facility.
Currently, patients are limited in the ways they can order meals and often end up with a default/set meal tray. Which can end up being a huge food wastage overhead.
With this new application, however, patients will now be able to order from a variety of different options based on their own medical history. This could potentially help save money, and increase patient engagement, and satisfaction. First, this new process is guaranteed to reduce food waste. If patients don’t have an option regarding what they can order, they might not eat the food and it would go to waste. Further, the application would also potentially reduce the number of patients that leave healthcare facilities malnourished. Another value provided by the application is with regards to providing nutritional information in full detail. This would also allow the application to act as a teaching tool and encourage patients to make healthier food choices based on the patient’s current medical condition. It will also free up time for medical professionals since patient’s will be able to order the food themselves with virtually little to no assistance.
Currently, the MedMeals team is tweaking their latest prototype and plan on doing beta testing with smaller, local healthcare facilities in order to obtain feedback and make improvements.
For anyone interested in MedMeals, you can contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org