The three reasons healthcare needs cashless catering (it’s not about food!)

By Jocelyn Levy | 2nd November 2020 | 8 min read

There’s a reason healthcare institutions across the country are adopting cashless catering services, and it’s not because of food.

Instead, cashless catering is uniquely important to healthcare. In fact, it’s more important that healthcare institutions go cashless than any other organisation – here’s why.

Cash is contaminated

The money you use every day is a breeding ground for disease and infection. In a controlled study, London Metropolitan university found 19 strains of bacteria living on a range of UK coins and notes.

Worringly, it seems that these bacteria have developed the ability to live on metal coins, which makes it easy to transmit infections with cash. The bacteria found on cash even include the life-threatening superbug MRSA, which ravages healthcare institutions.

Drug contamination is also a surprisingly common problem; class A drug residue is found on over three quarters of paper banknotes. Cocaine is particularly problematic, as it doesn’t break down easily and can cling to banknotes for years. This issue is so prevalent, over £15 million is destroyed every year to take it out of circulation.

Even worse, the use of rolled bank notes for drug use can lead to hepatitis C contamination, which could be devastating in a healthcare institution.

It’s clear that more needs to be done to get cash out of healthcare institutions wherever possible, as it poses a serious health risk for ill and immunocompromised patients. The biggest reason staff bring cash into your institution is for catering, so cashless catering is the most effective way to cut down on its use.

Canteens are slow

Healthcare staff are incredibly busy and can have little break time to spare. By forcing them to queue for long periods of time, you’re wearing down their precious energy reserves at a time they should be resting.

Cashless catering cuts down on queues and waiting time by eliminating the need to handle cash, giving your time-poor staff more of their break time back. This, in turn, means better service for your patients.

Some institutions go one step further by enabling their staff to preorder meals. This reduces wastage by enabling your kitchen staff to only order the ingredients they need. You can then access extensive reports showing the most popular meal options and make smart, informed menu choices.

Your vending machines can even be retrofitted to use the same cashless catering technology, so there’s absolutely no need to carry cash anymore.

Safety is paramount

By going cashless, you also unlock the ability to prevent unauthorised entry to staff areas with identity management. Cashless systems work thanks to cashless cards, unique PIN numbers or even biometrics; once all your staff have bought into this system, you can use the same technology to prevent access to restricted areas.

This is a huge reason that cashless catering is so important for healthcare institutions, as this is much more secure than old-school locks. Once you’re set up, you can add and revoke access at the drop of a hat, and even control access to areas based on the time of day.

Lock down your terminals and computers, provide staff with easy-to-open lockers and even add identity management protection to your printers. With this technology in place, it’s only possible to print once the job has been authorised at the printer, so only the medical staff assigned to a patient can collect printed documents. This helps you to ensure patient confidentiality and meet stringent GDPR regulations.

If you’re interested in cashless catering and access control for your healthcare organisation, look no further than FasTrak. We offer all of the groundbreaking technology outlined above, but our solutions don’t end there; visit our website to discover all the features we have to offer.