Closing the chasm between the healthcare provider and the patient through collaboration and client engagement in their own health plan is the key goal of participatory medicine. Therefore, embracing the movement of participatory medicine is fitting for nutrition professionals who aim to improve health and wellness of people through nutrition.

Combining Health Information Technology (HIT) and participatory medicine is a relationship worth promoting, as it can be highly effective in achieving the desired outcomes of both an organisation, health-professional and the patient. With the agenda driven by patient outcomes, HIT solutions will provide opportunities for nutrition professionals to reinvent and reorientate services in ways they haven’t previously considered.

HIT is a potentially powerful tool for delivering efficiencies, reducing costs and improving clinical outcomes. However, often HIT developers and adopters are driven by providing reduced operational costs, which is not always synonymous with an enhanced patient experience and improved clinical outcomes. Therefore, it is essential that dietitians become involved in HIT development, acquisition and implementation to provide the profession with the right solutions with the right focus. Using participatory medicine as our framework, we can aim to change the agenda to be driven by patient engagement and improving clinical outcomes.

This is an exciting time for nutrition professionals, with the future limited only by our imagination and enthusiasm. We are in a position to determine how 2050 will look for our profession, but it will require HIT understanding, education and engagement.

The following two publications provide some insight into nutrition informatics in Australia and an example of where technology was utilised to engage patients in decision-making, with an enhanced patient experience and improved clinical outcomes.

1. Maunder K, Lazarus C, Walton K, Williams P, Ferguson M, Beck E. (2015) Energy and protein intake increases with an electronic bedside spoken meal ordering system compared to a paper menu in hospital patients. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, 10 (4): e134-e139.

2. Maunder K, Williams P, Walton K, Ferguson M, Beck E, Ayres E, Hoggle L. (2015) Uptake of nutrition informatics in Australia compared to the United States of America. Nutrition and Dietetics, 72 (2). DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12207

Further information about participatory medicine, can be found on the Society of Participatory Medicine webpage

Kirsty Maunder – [email protected] or [email protected]

APD, CHIA & PhD candidate (University of Wollongong)

Software Implementation Manager (CBORD)

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