Practice Paper: Principles of Productivity in Food and Nutrition Services - Applications in the 21st Century Health Care Reform Era

Volume 115, Issue 7, Pages 1141-1147 (July 2015)


Food and nutrition services, along with the health care organizations they serve, are becoming increasingly complex. These complexities are driven by sometimes conflicting (if not polarizing) human, department, organization, and environment factors and will require that managers shift how they think about and approach productivity in the context of the greater good of the organization and, perhaps, even society. Traditional, single-factor approaches to productivity measurements, while still valuable in the context of departmental trend analysis, are of limited value when assessing departmental performance in the context of an organization's goals and values. As health care continues to change and new models of care are introduced, food and nutrition services managers will need to consider innovative approaches to improve productivity that are consistent with their individual health care organization’s vision and mission. Use of process improvement tools such as Lean and Six Sigma as strategies for evaluating and improving food and nutrition services efficiency should be considered.