A discussion of “Standards” don’t just normally attract the average person on the street. When I began working in the field of informatics, I can remember thinking: “I will leave this work to someone else,” as it just seemed too detailed and abstract for me to grasp. Fast forward 10 years and I am writing a “Summary of Nutrition Standards” document. Never say never.
In most any conversation concerning the need to get nutrition into electronic health records—or any health information technology—for that fact brings us to the “chicken and egg” conversation. We have the Nutrition Care Process, Evidence Analysis Library and the International Dietetics and Nutrition Terminology. We need to have these great tools adhere to and become part of health care standards as they become more necessary for everyday use.
While most members do not need to be experts in this area, it is a necessary part of assuring that nutrition is embedded in health care. Step back from surfing the Internet, driving your car, making airline reservations, scanning bar codes at the grocery store or even using a bar code scanner on your smart phone—and behind the scenes are standards. Members from both the Nutrition Informatics Committee (NIC) Interoperability and Standards Sub-Committee and the Nutrition Care Process/Standardized Language Committee are working collaboratively to create a diet order standard which will be both “computer readable” and “human readable” at any point of care in the health care system.
The purpose—so that diet orders can “follow the patient” wherever she/he goes and all members of the team. Some day, hopefully, the stories of a tube fed patient transitioning from an acute care facility to long term care WITHOUT any diet order will be—history. Thank you to all the members—particularly Margaret Dittloff and Elaine Ayres—who are tireless champions of this great work. (Both Margaret and Elaine have chaired the Nutrition Informatics Committee and the NIC Interoperability and Standards Sub Committee. In about 2.5 years, they have put nutrition into many of the details at Health Level Seven (HL7)!