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Nutrition Informatics Blog

It's all about You!

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Welcome to the Launch of the Nutrition Informatics Blog! This is an exciting time for me, as I look forward to hearing from those working in the area of informatics --and from those just beginning to integrate informatics into their work. As a consultant to ADA and a volunteer--the most enjoyable learning happens when others share their real-life experiences from work and life.

With all the recent discussion of health information technology (HIT), electronic health records (EHR), and Personal Health Records (PHR) in the press, it might seem that this expansive field just bubbled to the top a few years back.  Actually, Biomedical and Nursing Informatics has been around since digital computers were created in the 1940’s.  Given the vast amount of data inherent in the field of nutrition, it seems very logical to utilize technology to manage our information.

I will be sharing details from many working in this space—there is very little in print on nutrition informatics per se, so I hope this serves as a repository of information on the topic.  Please join in the discussion—it is this sharing that allows us all to understand the many possibilities we have.

Yes, I just used this quote—but this is the perfect place for it to land.  I hope you agree.

In his book The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki notes “groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.” (Surowiecki J. The Wisdom of Crowds. New York: Anchor Books, 2005.)

I worked as a Dietitian from 1992 until 1999. In 1999 I changed positions and began working with the Information Systems department. My main responsibilities included building, maintaining and supporting the clinical documentation system for multiple disciplines at the hospital. I also gained experience utilizing and supporting many other applications during that time. In 2009, I returned to a clinical Dietitian role, but maintain a strong interest in the field of informatics. I am always looking for ways to utilize technology to enhance and streamline workflow. I am excited to see ADA taking an active role in promoting the use of technology and informatics in our field. Jennifer Muterspaugh, RD, CDE, CD
Posted by: Jennifer Muterspaugh at 5/19/2010 11:17 AM

Thank you for your post and enthusiasm. We hope to share and learn more online. It is wonderful to hear more about dietitians with experience in health IT. Please continue the discussion. Join us for the AMIA/ADA 10x10 Biomedical Informatics Course beginning June 2, 2010.
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 5/21/2010 4:39 AM

The AMIA/ADA 10x10 Biomedical Informatics Course looks very interesting. Does anyone know what learning codes the CDR will list this under so that I can submit this for my PDP learning plan?

This seems to be the exact direction my career is heading and very good timing for the course.

John Snyder, DTR, RD
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 5/24/2010 1:10 PM


I contacted CDR for the list of Suggested learning codes for the AMIA/ADA 10X10 Biomedical Informatics Course. At this time, there doesn't appear to be an official list of suggested learning codes, however, the representative recommended the following:

1000: Professional Skills
1020: Computer, electronic technology
6000: Education, Training, and Counseling

I hope this helps answer someone else question.
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 5/25/2010 3:51 PM

Thank you for sharing the codes! You are exactly correct. I hope you will join us by taking the 10x10 Course. I am attending the Spring AMIA Conference as we speak--it is exciting to see so many opportunities for nutrition informatics.

Please keep me informed on your work and continued interest in this area.
Lindsey Hoggle
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 5/25/2010 4:48 PM

I worked as a clinical dieitian for 10+ years in a few hospitals before working in my current position as a senior systems analyst in our IT department for 12+ years. My main responsibilities include report writing, along with building, maintaining and supporting clinical documentation for the various areas that chart in the patients electronic health record - inpatient and outpatient. I have filled a "niche role" in that I understand the "clinical talk & needs better than a business programmer/analyst and can also do the needed work in IT. From the nutrition point of view - they have placed me on all the Food Service projects & RD projects - I work alongside the pharmacy analsyt and am consulted on a regular basis about different food/drug/& vitamin interactions and for clear ways of presenting the data to our users/& patients. I'm excited to see Nutrition Informatics come out - it has been around for nursing and I know that RD's will benefit and ADD to this exciting growing field of Informatics.
Posted by: Cheryl Christenson RD CDE at 6/7/2010 2:25 PM

Hi Cheryl,
It is exciting to hear stories like yours! Your point that you play an important role bridging the clinical and technical sides of such projects is exactly right. There are critical skills that your nutrition background provides which make a huge difference in the outcomes of nutrition IT projects. Please continue to share your experiences!
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 6/8/2010 6:37 AM

I'm glad to see this blog. I've been on the informatics side for 7 years now, the last 3 at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I have been working with Cerner software in the area of Orders Management and reports. We just went up with the last phase of CPOE; inpatient medication entry, and I've learned a lot about pharmacy in the last 6 weeks! I had a variety of experiences in clinical and administrative dietetics before I went back to school in computers, and started working with websites and databases.
Looking forward to learning and sharing with the 10 x 10 group, and then bringing this to FNCE- Cathy
Posted by: Cathy Welsh at 6/20/2010 9:24 PM

Hi Cathy,
We are most fortunate to have your expertise and appreciate any suggestions/comments/ideas as ADA moves forward. The 10x10 is also an amazing mix of talented individuals. Please continue to share.
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 7/6/2010 8:56 AM

I will be interested to hear from those of you who are taking the 10x10. I was not able to sign up this time, but do hope it will be offered again. I've worked closely along side IT with the Cerner developements for the past several years (build started 06) and am now put on all department technology projects. We don't yet have CPOE.
We also now have interface to Computrition (went live last Fall) which has been a different technology direction aside from health informatics. My current position has evolved the past couple years and am considering an online masters program. I still have one foot in clinical and love wearing that hat as well, which keeps applications of NCP real.
Are some of you still in your department who are able to directly work with systems or have you moved to the IT departments? Do any of you have recommendations for programs?
Thanks in advance,
Posted by: Marcie Barnes, RD LD CNSC at 9/17/2010 9:51 AM

I'm finishing up a MS in clinical informatics in the next few months. I also teach a course in nutrition informatics (we think it's the only graduate level course in nutrition informatics taught by an RD!) and am preparing a series of nutrition informatics CE modules aimed at clinical nutrition managers and clinical RDs. Marcie, there aren't really any dedicated nutrition informatics graduate programs. What you need to do is carefully evaluate where you want to go and what you want to do after graduating.
I could have tried to move into informatics positions without incurring the cost and time to get another MS degree. However, looking at the direction that technology and informatics are headed, I can see that there's going to be more emphasis on a combination of clinical experience along with formal training if you want to move beyond the staff level.
So, take a look at AMIA's website ( where there is a listing of programs. Check out some of the nursing informatics programs (not all require a nursing background). If you are looking at online programs, carefully look at how/who teaches. I've found the quality of online teaching varies widely!
Posted by: Pam Charney, PhD, RD at 10/5/2010 12:01 PM

Thank you for pointing out the AMIA site as a great reference for informatics programs. As you know, the 10x10 is a great introduction to those who want to learn more, or even those who think they might want to obtain a degree in informatics! Of course, there are no guarantees, but we have reports of the 10x10 qualifying as a course to transfer into other programs—even an MBA! Probably the most exciting part of the 10x10 is the ability for 42 individuals with dietetic backgrounds to discuss online the challenges and successes they have had. Marty Yadrick and I are co-instructors, and are learning along the way also!!

I agree, the similarities between nursing informatics and nutrition informatics is significant, and the profession can move forward more quickly due to the willingness of many great friends in nursing. Good luck on your class and we can hope that it will not be long before we can say there are multitudes of programs in nutrition informatics. ADA has been instrumental in support of this evolving area--it is indeed an exciting time for the dietetics profession!
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 10/6/2010 9:19 AM

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