A few years ago, NorthBay dutifully followed state requirements by having a heavy tome called the American Dietetic Association Nutrition Care Manual in every patient care unit in both hospitals.
As you can image, updating didn’t happen all that often, and when it did, the exercise involved distributing 11 three-ring binders of information throughout the facilities. Only one person could use each volume at a time, which made it somewhat cumbersome.
Fast forward to today: The entire publication is online, with supplemental material that makes it easy to search and find reams of information.
Employees with a computer can access it at the same time. And updates are fast and frequent.
“Now we’re saving money, trees and labor,” says Kathleen Shafer, nutrition services manager for NorthBay Healthcare. “The beauty of this is that as updates are available, we have them immediately at our fingertips. We are not stuck with an old version until a new one is purchased. As practices change, we have instant access. Our patients benefit and it keeps us current, too.”
The Nutrition Care Manual is the gold standard, Shafer explains. “Our clinical dietitians use it for patient education regarding medical nutrition therapy needs, and it’s also a great resource for them because it features calculators and other reference material,” says Shafer.
Employees can easily find meal plans specific to any number of medical situations from acute renal failure to urinary stones.
In addition, an online manual in some cases helps bridge the communications gap. A number of client information lessons are available in English and Spanish, and a recent addition was the heart-healthy education and menu suggestions in Vietnamese.