The Benefit of Nutritional Data in Personal and Electronic Health Records

Date Added: May 23, 2011

Author: Michael.Young

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In the government’s effort to convert paper health records to an electronic form, the American Dietetic Association has noted there are several benefits to including nutritional data in Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Personal Health Records (PHRs). This nutrition-related information recorded on EHRs or PHRs would be an invaluable resource for dietitians who seek to provide preventative health care.

Electronic Health Records vs. Personal Health Records

There is a slight difference between Electronic and Personal Health Records. Electronic Health Records are a patient’s medical records that are maintained and provided by the patient’s health care provider. Personal Health Records are health data such as medication logbooks, daily blood glucose readings and other daily health-related information collected and recorded by the patient. Without access to either of these resources, many patients are currently using web-based tools such as Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault to organize and record their health information in one location.

By including nutritional data in both EHRs and PHRs, the information becomes a key tool that can be utilized by a patient’s registered dietitian to make nutritional assessments. This data can also be used as a preventative approach to treatment by implementing food diaries, exercise logs, weight charts, medication and vitamin logs, while utilizing Nutrition Informatics in their practice.

The Benefits of Nutritional Data

The America Dietetic Association’s Nutrition Informatics Work Group defines Nutrition Informatics as “the effective retrieval, organization, storage, and optimum use of information, data and knowledge for food and nutrition related problem solving and decision making.” Having these records available makes it possible for the registered dietitian to have a more complete, accurate record, eliminating the need to rely on often flawed patient recollection based on memory.

With the recent focus on health information technology (HIT), dietitians have an unprecedented opportunity to use HIT to ensure that Nutritional Informatics, nutrition-related care, counseling and patient education become part of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 (ARRA), an economic stimulus package that includes incentive payments to physicians and hospitals for implementing electronic health records.

Government policy makers can be influenced to ensure that both vendors and health care providers provide a component in EHRs and PHRs that record vital nutrition-related data. Registered Dietitians can become involved in ARRA in the following ways:

As policies are established for the effective use of ARRA funds, registered dietitians can comment on these policies at http://healthit.HHS.gov.

Apply for grants offered by HITREC Grant Programs.

Help implement EHRs at work that include nutritional data.

Request to be included in the group appointed to make decisions regarding the implementation of EHRs at your place of work.

Direct patients to monitor and improve their health by keeping detailed records of personal nutrition and daily habits utilizing personal health records.

Learn More About Electronic Health Records

If you need more information about EHR systems, the inclusion of nutritional informatics, and how they may improve the quality of health care for your practice, contact e-MDs, a leader in electronic medical record software provision.

e-MDs offers a host of affordable, certified EHR solutions for physicians and facilities looking to modernize or enhance their services with the latest electronic health records technology. e-MDs is committed to providing affordable and integrated EHR and Practice Management Software solutions, including clinical, financial and document management modules designed to automate medical practice processes and chart management – delivering the clinical tools needed to succeed in today’s health care environment.

You can find additional detailed information about all the different services and benefits an EHR system has to offer your practice by contacting a representative right now at 1.888.344.9836 or sales@e-mds.com.

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Heather Preston. Electronic Health Records – secure your electronic health records with e-MDs.

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