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The Benefit of Nutritional Data in Personal and Electronic Health Records

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

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.

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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

• 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

• 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

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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