Nutrition Informatics Delphi Study: What’s That?
Guest Post By Amy Miller RD, CDN, RAC-CT
Why Did the Nutrition Informatics Committee Want to Do One?
What is a Delphi Study?
As defined by Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_method), a Delphi Study “is a structured communication technique, originally developed as a systematic, interactive forecasting method, which relies on a panel of experts. In the standard version, the experts answer questionnaires in two or more rounds. After each round, a facilitator provides an anonymous summary of the experts’ forecasts from the previous round, as well as the reasons they provided for their judgments. Thus, experts are encouraged to revise their earlier answers in light of the replies of other members of their panel. It is believed that during this process the range of the answers will decrease and the group will converge toward the ‘correct’ answer. Finally, the process is stopped after a predefined stop criterion (eg, number of rounds, achievement of consensus, and stability of results), and the mean or median scores of the final rounds determine the results.”
Or non-Wikipedia fans can learn more at http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/effective-engagement/toolkit/tool-delphi-study.
Why did the Nutrition Informatics Committee want to do a Delphi Study?
The Nutrition Informatics Committee developed both nutrition informatics competencies and an easy means to achieve those competencies with the very strong support of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A Delphi Study was conducted to validate informatics competencies for all levels of practice. These competencies encompass basic computer skills, informatics training essential for success in an electronic health record (EHR) workplace environment, and more advanced skills in informatics design and management.
This study was mirrored by the Staggers Delphi Study for Nursing Informatics (http://www.nihi.ca/nihi/ir/Staggers%20DelphiStudyInformaticsForNurses.pdf). The study consisted of expert registered dietitians (RDs) in the area of practice as educators, clinical practice, food service managers, informaticists, and staff from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to assure that skill training in informatics met the needs of the profession now and in the future.
What did the Nutrition Informatics Committee want to accomplish?
- A definition of informatics
- Nutrition informatics competencies and how they relate to specific levels of practice
- Help for employers when they hire RDs
- An understanding of why nutrition informatics is important and why we need competencies
- Certification and recognition of a “new” area of practice
- Preceptor/intern help to assure that staff knows competencies necessary for students
- Professional development portfolios to meet newly required skills
- Recommendation for further research—Delphi Study for informatics skills
Look for the Delphi Study results in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics soon!