Academy Celebrates Major Nutrition Informatics Milestone

01/11/2017 - The federal Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, charged with the coordination of nationwide efforts to use the most advanced health information technology, has included “Diet and Nutrition” and “Food Allergies” in its 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory, or ISA.

The advisory—which is a catalog of standards and specifications for the health IT industry to meet implementation and interoperability needs—not only helps stakeholders achieve clinical health IT goals, but reflects the ongoing dialogue, debate and consensus among industry stakeholders.

“The ISA is used as a guide for electronic health record vendors and health IT implementers as they optimize systems for improved care delivery,” says Lucille Beseler. “This important milestone—the inclusion of ‘Diet and Nutrition’ and ‘Food Allergies’—represents recognition of the critical role of nutrition in health and the culmination of years of advocacy efforts by the Academy.”

What does this mean for Academy members?

  • Nutrition placeholders now exist in mandated U. S. health IT standards necessary for Health IT Certification by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology. While Health IT Certification itself is voluntary, certified products are a requirement for other Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services programs—such as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act’s required use of Certified Health IT for participation in the Quality Payment Program.
  • Nutrition has a seat at the table for improving transitions of care across care settings via the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Transformation Act, or IMPACT Act, of 2014. Nutrition care is included in the Transitions of Care health IT standard as it relates to the IMPACT Act.
  • Practitioners should use the terms and definitions of the electronic Nutrition Care Process Terminology in electronic health records and coordinate the “mapping” of eNCPT to mandated U.S. standardized terminologies. This mapping supports nutrition care data inclusion in multi-disciplinary care plans, condition/problems and interventions—used for transitions of care and secondary use of information.
  • Nutrition content in health IT standards supports the nationwide movement toward electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) reporting using consistent standards. The Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative and the Academy’s role as steward of the Malnutrition eCQMs embraces and further connects digital nutrition care documentation by RDNs.

“The Academy’s visionary advocacy and support has established a sound foundation for nutrition and dietetics practitioners within the vast changes in the U.S. health care system digital infrastructure,” Beseler says.