Thursday, December 12, 2013

Oatmeal at IHI: The sequel

I never thought that I would be compelled to write another post about the manner in which oatmeal is served at the IHI Annual National Forum at the Marriott World Center in Orlando.

Let me take you back to the original posts from 2010: 1, 2, 3, 4.  Short version: The ladles (see above) provided to guests on the breakfast buffet were too large relative to the bowls, so oatmeal was being spilled all over people's hands and their bowls.  

Unsanitary and messy work-arounds were developed by the guests (like using the tea cup seen above.)  I wrote a blog post about the issue, and the hotel responded by eliminating self-service and assigning staff to serve oatmeal at several stations, providing them with slightly smaller ladles.

Now, three years later, I stopped by an oatmeal station and noticed that the ladle used by the server was still too large relative to the bowl size. So even with an experienced server, the oatmeal often spills over the edge of the bowl onto the hand of the server and the outside of the bowl.  The server then has to use a small towel to clean off both the hand and the bowl.

I say, sympathetically, "That would be easier with a smaller ladle."

Response, "These are the smaller ladles. We use them instead of the regular ones when this group [i.e., IHI] is here.

"You mean you use bigger ones when there are other groups here?"


I'm speechless.


Neville Sarkari MD, FACP said...

Do you remember the box lunch fiasco at IHI a few years ago when they added a late speaker...?

Still a great conference, but it's ironic when they have a process breakdown!

Anonymous said...

And, in related news, the top 10 hospital safety concerns for 2014... other than the EMR item, could this have been the same list from 2004 and 1994??

Becker's Link

So, before y'all mock a hotel for not fixing its problems...

Paul Levy said...

Superb point! Thank you!

(At least the hotel isn't killing anyone by their approach.)

Nancy Thomas said...

Slippery sliding slope of change...

Mark Graban said...

Maybe they need wider-mouthed bowls too?

daedalus2u said...

Probably smaller ladles get stolen.

Maybe if they paid the staff living wages and didn't have so much turnover, this wouldn't happen.

Paul Levy said...


They have them (salad bowls) . . . but don't use them for this purpose. See the original blog post.