RD Satisfaction: The Results are In

Measuring Satisfactionwith Electronic Charting...Productivity...Assessment Process

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Clinical Nutrition Documentation in Acute Care

Clinical Nutrition Assessment is an essential part of the treatment plan for all patients who enter the hospital system.  Once the indication of nutritional risk is defined, a dietitian follows specific facility designed protocols. These protocols are loosely based upon specific guidelines set forth by the Commission on Dietetic Regulation and The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure a thorough and complete review of nutritional requirements & intervention takes place. 

Just like any other discipline, the RD assessment process should be designed to meet standards of practice for nutrition care. Speech Language Pathologists have forms and requirements within their documentation tools. Registered Nurses have very specific fields and sections built to meet their documentation needs. The result of this survey uncovers alarming inadequacy in the systems and practices available to dietitians as compared to other disciplines. Why is it that Clinical Nutrition Documentation Tools don't have sufficient work flows or data automation built to support Dietitian documentation needs? 

Menu Logistics conducted a survey to understand, "How are electronic medical record systems measuring up when looking at Dietitian documentation tools?" and "What processes are in place to ensure there is thorough assessment standardization for the department?"  What we found from the RD feedback is eye opening. 
See Table Below for the Survey Results.

Unsatisfied


>60% of RDs feel they are held back by the Tools and Processes within their facility as related to Clinical Nutrition


The question remains, why are RDs unsatisfied with the tools and processes that are available to them in varying hospital systems?

The survey results revealed that there are many shortcomings and obstacles that exist. Solutions are limited for RDs to customize or re-design a work flow or tool.  It appears evident that EMRs(Electronic Medical Records) are geared mostly for nursing documentation and the workflows built in simply don't cut it when it comes to including nutritional standards to positively impact patient care.

RDs are left to rely upon manual processes to complete tedious task lists using a variety of data references.  This lack of an unorganized methodology presents risk and an inibility to capture essential information in a timely fashion. 

The Results

Table 1

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So ... How Can Dietitian Needs Be Better Met?

Plain and simple, RDs need & deserve better tools.

RDs would benefit from all data elements being available in one central dashboard that is designed by dietitians for dietitians. In addition, they truly need full integration with interdisciplinary systems and all nutritional references/documentation requirements to eliminate manual clerical processes. Standardized communication between nutrition professionals and the medical staff through the completion of a nutritional assessment is essential for approproate patient care planning.  Efficiency and improved productivity within the clinical nutrition department has been proven to show positive patient outcomes as related to the treatment of Malnutrition, post-op recovery, Reduction of Total Legnth of Stay and the prevention of 30-day Readmissions. Reducing manual tracking for productivity and KPI would allow Dietitians more time to dedicate toward direct patient care. System generated billing codes would clearly define and provide supporting documentation of acceptable reimbursments for nutrition related treatments. Standardized tools and reports that ensure compliance with practice guidelines will result in successful Joint Commission Audits. Bottom line: Automation needs to exist that would provide constant monitoring and evaluation of the patient condition for nutritional status throughout the length of stay.


The Next Step is to Take Action


Unfortunately, the availability to do everything stated above within current HIS systems simply does not exist.  Even if departments chose to work with HIS vendors to update the current nutrition assessment offerings, it could be a very timely process, end up being very costly and quickly become outdated due to the inability to get continual updates. 

Access to systems and workflows that are designed strictly for the use of nutrition care management will improve timeliness of assessment completion, resulting in earlier initiation of nutritional intervention, thorough and effective documentation that will ensure compliance and reimbursement opportunities, and most importantly will improve the productivity and satisfaction of RDs.  When employees feel they have been given the proper tools to complete their work, every day hurdles tend to disappear and consequently, patient care will improve. 


Available Solutions


Menu Logistics Clinical Dietetic Workbench is the only system in the market today that provides a standalone Nutrition Management Platform.  This system works with any HIS vendor, is 100% customizable, is deployable within 60-90 days and is continually upgraded to meet ever changing requirements and standards.  Additional benefits for the operation include: a reduction in LOS, Reduction in Readmissions, Improved Productivity and Increased Reimbursements as well as TPS.  Ultimately, improving patient care and outcomes is the primary and most important reason to use the system.

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