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Nutrition Informatics Blog



Phone Apps and Tech Tools for Consulting Dietitians

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

University 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 presentation.

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.

Phone 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.

Phone 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. 

Add a Comment
Comments (4):
5/31/2012 9:56:40 PM by Pam Charney

I'm surprised that Evernote wasn't included. Evernote is fantastic for managing just about everything. When I'm teaching I keep lesson outlines, files, images and documents in one note that I can then access to put a class together. I use Evernote's Hello add on to manage contacts. Evernote is free and syncs automatically across my laptop, iPad and phone.

6/1/2012 12:13:53 AM by Ms. Peggy R Turner MS RD LD FAND

Thanks for sharing the info. Thanks also to the interns for gathering the info. Going to go try to make my QR business card now! Peggy Turner

5/15/2013 7:24:57 PM by Janel M Hemmesch RD LD CBE

Would love to see more of this type of information. It is difficult to stay up to date on all the wonderful technology out there!

5/17/2013 1:06:01 AM by Jackie Plus

Tube Feeding Calculator + is pretty good also if you are in clinical. I think it's on both iPhone and Droid.

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