When a Service Provider is Part of the Team

By: Dan Bueschel
Jul 29, 2016 12:45 PM ET

This is the third in a continuing blog series based on the findings from the Sodexo 2016 Healthcare Compendium, a compilation of research that examines the increasing trend toward a focus on value in the healthcare sector. Read the full article: Lowell General Hospital: Partnering for Excellence

Great things can happen when a service provider is fully integrated into a hospital’s culture and aligned with its strategy. Lowell General Hospital’s partnership with Sodexo is a textbook example of the value of such a relationship. Sodexo-provided services benefit the hospital in many ways:

  • Clinical Technology Management produces more than $500,000 savings annually
  • Environmental Services is in the 98th percentile for productivity compared to other managed hospitals in region
  • Facilities are managed with fewer full-time employees – a ratio of 18% lower than national average
  • By expanding food service retail venues and applying accurate menu management systems, Lowell General achieved an average 5% lower food cost compared to like facilities
  • Sodexo’s Service Response Center integrates tasks across all service functions, handling more than 270,000 calls and processing one million meal orders annually

It’s an extraordinary story, one that merits attention by every hospital administration focused on the complexities of managed care, controlling costs and providing an exceptional patient experience, all while driving profitability.

How did this partnership evolve? Lowell General’s vision is to be one of the best community hospitals in the country. To prosper in an increasingly competitive environment, the hospital developed a new corporate structure that facilitates productive clinical partnerships and larger provider networks. It also sought out a strategic partnership for non-clinical services with a company that shared its vision.

The long-standing relationship between Lowell General and Sodexo has resulted in the integration of multiple service areas including Facility Management, Food and Nutrition, Environmental Services, Patient Transport, Clinical Technology Management and Patient Experience Services, delivering a higher level of value and quality than could be achieved through the maintenance of multiple service contracts. Sodexo’s team focuses on making patients the heart of everything they do, supporting Lowell General’s goal to provide exceptional experiences that exceed patients’ expectations, according to Jody White, hospital president.

Susan Green, EVP and CFO, said, “Sodexo always does everything we ask, and 99% of the time they proactively identify things we need but haven’t asked for yet.” The results speak for themselves:

  • A 44% decrease in surgical site infection rates
  • An integrated network platform that provides complete connectivity for patients
  • Immediate, thorough response to crisis situations that threaten the hospital’s operations
  • Outstanding performance enabling the highest quality care that supported the facility’s Magnet Recognition Program®certification

Complexity is the enemy of efficiency and accountability. Lowell General Hospital enjoys less complexity and more value through Sodexo’s clear, speedy and simple integrated services model. An on-site Sodexo executive is integrated within the Lowell General Hospital management team, providing a single point of contact for all services. This allows quick resolution to any area needing attention with a full understanding of the hospital’s priorities, and even anticipating future needs. Sodexo’s model enables hospital executives to spend time on what they do best—run the hospital—while Sodexo does what it does best—deliver superior non-clinical services.

Dan Bueschel is President of Healthcare Services for Sodexo North America responsible for both operations and business development. Mr. Bueschel leads his team in the development and delivery of comprehensive Quality of Life solutions that address complex issues facing healthcare systems.