Newswise — DETROIT – Henry Ford Health System cut 7 tons of fat from food and increased fruit and vegetable purchases by 10 percent annually in an effort to offer patients more healthy food choices.
In addition, the hospital system removed all fryers and committed to removing all deep fried fat products, promotes only healthy food options within 5 feet of cash registers and advertises only healthy food choice options on cafeteria advertising and menus.
Henry Ford Chief Wellness Officer Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., will discuss patients and consumers’ positive reaction during her Washington, D.C. presentation “In Hospitals: The Other RN (Real Nutrition).”
“We have a responsibility to provide our communities with a wide variety of affordable, delicious, healthy food options – making the healthy choice the easy choice,” Wisdom says. “Our patients, employees and other customers like what we’re doing.”
Offering healthy options can be a money-maker, too, says Dr. Wisdom. After the system implemented healthy food choices, revenue increased 7 percent at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital in 2013.
Dr. Wisdom will talk about the health system’s results Friday at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Building a Healthier Future Summit, taking place March 12-14.
Dieticians and chefs worked together to make healthy foods beautiful and enticing to both patients and café customers, says John Miller, director of Culinary Wellness at Henry Ford Health System.
“Healthy food doesn’t need to be expensive – or boring,” Miller says. “We’re excited to see the response as we introduce even more healthy food options throughout the hospital system.”
Over the last century, the health system’s commitment to wellness has grown and deepened, focusing on patient-centered medical care, innovative clinical excellence, and improving lives, both in the hospital setting and in the community. A renewed commitment to those ideals resulted in the 2011 vision statement: “Transforming lives and communities through health and wellness – one person at a time.”
As part of that focus, Henry Ford Health System spent the past several years increasing healthy food options for cafés and patients. In 2013, Henry Ford committed to PHA’s Hospital Healthy Food Initiative guidelines to improve nutrition of patient meals as well as what is offered at on-site cafés. The three-year, three-month commitment lasts through 2016, with Henry Ford the only hospital system in Michigan joining the initiative.
“A hospital is a center for health, but we know that comfort food is important, too,” Dr. Wisdom says. “The goal of this initiative is to increase healthy options or make less-healthy choices a little more healthy -- not deprive people of choices.”
Henry Ford had already met the PHA initiative of increasing fruit and vegetable purchases to 10 percent of total food dollars purchased by 2015. All four Henry Ford Health System hospitals meet the guideline, with two spending more than 20 percent. The hospital system also has committed to:
• Meeting PHA requirements that at least 40 percent for 2013, 50 percent for 2014 and 60 percent for 2015 of a la carte entrees and side dishes meet healthy guidelines. In three of four hospitals, 40 percent of entrees and side dishes met the criteria in 2013, with plans for all hospitals to meet the 50 percent goal in 2014.
• Remove all fryers and deep fried fat products. The fryers have been removed from all hospitals and at least one hospital has also removed all deep fat fried products with plans to phase them out of the remaining three facilities.
• Promote only healthy food options within five feet of cash registers. All Henry Ford Health System are compliant. Henry Ford Health System also worked with Pepsi to re-wrap all of the café refrigerators with non-branded, healthy images.
• Offer wellness meals for both adult and children in cafés and to adult and pediatric patients. All HFHS hospitals currently offer at least one adult and children’s wellness meal.
“We firmly believe that this commitment will allow us to better fulfill our main goal of providing our patients with the best care possible, while also promoting health throughout the community,” Dr. Wisdom said.
Henry Ford Health System, one of the largest and most comprehensive integrated U.S. health care systems, is a national leader in clinical care, research and education. The system includes the 1,200-member Henry Ford Medical Group, four hospitals, Health Alliance Plan (a health insurance and wellness company), Henry Ford Physician Network, a 150-site ambulatory network and many other health-related entities throughout southeast Michigan, providing a full continuum of care. In 2012, Henry Ford provided $234 million in uncompensated care. The health system also is a major economic driver in Michigan and employs more than 23,000 employees. Henry Ford is a 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. The health system is led by CEO Nancy Schlichting. To learn more, visit HenryFord.com. For more information on Henry Ford Health System’s wellness initiatives visit www.henryfordlivewell.com.