Nashville hospital boosts patient meal profile to meet Obamacare

Chef is enhancing quality and presentation of patient trays to improve patient satisfaction.

July 8—A seared tilapia breast, dripping with lemon-herb sauce, sits between steaming brown rice and colorful vegetables, both garnished with fresh greens and cooked to order.

“The lemon is meant to replace high salt content,” said Executive Chef John Wickersham, as he added a cup of mixed fresh fruit to the display.

“We’re trying really hard to improve the look and feel of the food here,” he said.

“Here” isn’t a four-star restaurant or a luxury hotel. Wickersham is head chef at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, and he’s about to feed a patient.

Gone are the days of mystery meat, stiff pudding and choiceless tray lines, as Nashville hospitals look to improve their food and nutrition services across the board. Health care providers are placing stronger emphasis on a patient’s overall experience in their facility, and one result is noticeably improved food service.