Phone Apps and Tech Tools for Consulting
Dietitians: Something for Everyone
By Phyllis Fatzinger McShane, MS, RD, LDN
Content provided by the
University of Maryland College Park Dietetic Interns
of Maryland College Park dietetic interns presented Smart Phone Apps and Tech Tools for the RD at the Maryland
Dietitians Health Care Communities’ spring meeting. The consultant dietitians
in attendance agreed—tech tools and phone apps can make life easier or one’s
practice more effective. Excerpts of the presentations follow.
QR codes are found on brochures, pamphlets, flyers,
handouts, name tags, and business cards to share information via smartphones.
Busy consulting dietitians can exchange contact information at business meetings
via smartphones rather trying to remember to collect everyone’s business cards.
This also is a backup for when you run out of business cards. Several types of
formats exist, but many people prefer the v-card format. In the future, we may grocery shop or track items with QR Codes.
Dropboxis a free service
that allows you to bring your photos, documents, and videos anywhere and share
them easily on computers or smartphones. You never need to worry again about having
an e-mail too large to send or forgetting the thumb drive that contains your
presentation. You can use Dropbox instead. Shared folders allow people to work
together on the same projects and documents in different sites in real time. Shared storage up to 2GB is free. This
presentation used Dropbox, because the PowerPoint was huge, and 10 interns
needed to access the material in real time to evaluate the end product prior to
Phone app Epocrates® allows busy consulting
dietitians to access drug, disease, and diagnostic information via their
smartphones. In addition to free (and paid) versions on smartphones, Epocrates also
offers a computer-based version. Epocrates provides reference information on
thousands of drugs, calculators, including body mass index and fluid needs, and
a section on current medical news and research. What a great thing to read if
you are waiting for a meeting to start or during the last 5 minutes until
supper service starts. You also should expect that your customers (the residents’
families) will soon use this site as well.
app Fooducate claims that “Fooducate is like taking your own personal dietitian to
the supermarket.” This app, created by dietitians and concerned parents,
provides information on 200,000 food products. Fooducate states that it is not
funded or influenced by food manufacturers. Use of Fooducate requires a smartphone
with camera to utilize a UPC bar code scanner. Fooducate scans barcodes for its
information and only can provide information on food items with bar codes. After
a food item is scanned, it appears with a grade using elaborate algorithms.
While not perfect, consultant dietitians can expect family members to begin
using this site and asking questions based on this information.
App NutriGuides was created by the Academy of Nutrition
and Dietetics and is currently available on iPhone and iPad, with availability
of Droid apps anticipated soon. NutriGuides provides access to portions of the Academy
of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Library, which utilizes only
evidence-based research to make recommendations. It is available for purchase
as an Apple app for a one-time fee of $1.99. As more material becomes available,
this app will become an absolute must for consulting dietitians.
SignUp Genius, another tech tool to simplify your
life, helps with “real time” scheduling of staff training or sign-ups for projects,
project meetings, or even an office party. In the latter case, it reduces e-mails,
phone calls, and office chatter, and guarantees that the event will have only
one set of napkins, rather than three sets of napkins and no silverware. Only
the organizer must sign up as a SignUp Genius “free” member in order to develop
the list of needed items and the participant invitation list, and to monitor
responses and determine whether to use text or e-mail reminders. Various
template formats are available for business use.