Marty’s Corner: Use of (and Comfort with) Technology Among Dietetics Professionals
Since 2007, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has periodically surveyed its membership to assess the use of technology in the workplace. Results of the most recent (third) survey were published in November, 2016.1 Approximately one-third of respondents reported that they work in inpatient acute care, and nearly eight percent work at a long-term/extended care facility. The percentage of respondents whose primary area of practice is informatics, which is still not even a choice on most surveys administered to dietetics professionals, was 2.7 percent. Although small, that number has increased by 93 percent since the previous survey in 2011.
When the first survey data was gathered in 2007, less than ten percent of hospitals had switched from paper to electronic health records. This number jumped to 78 percent in 2014. This increase parallels dietitian and dietetic technician responses to survey questions related to use of and comfort with technology. For example, use of mobile computing devices increased from 40 percent in 2011 to 63 percent on the most recent survey. When asked about type of data retrieved using technology, over 85 percent of respondents stated that they access a nutrient database, and nearly three-fourths stated that they access recipes and menus.
Members were also asked about their use of technology to “problem solve”, as well as about their role as decision makers with respect to technology. Over half stated that they use technology to problem solve, representing an increase from the previous survey. The percentages of those stating they were decision makers for software selection, implementation, and training were 8.0, 8.5, and 9.6 percent, respectively. The survey included several other questions not mentioned here, but the bottom line is that, regardless of their employment setting, dietitians and dietetic technicians are becoming increasingly more comfortable with technology, and rely on it to store and retrieve data, automate processes that had previously been manual, and in general to support their work.
- Molinar LS, Childers AF, Hoggle L, et al. Increase in use and demand for skills illustrated by responses to nutrition informatics survey. J Acad Nutr Diet; 2016:116(11), 1836-1842.
Article by: Marty Yadrick, MBI, MS, RDN, FAND - Director of Nutrition Informatics and former President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Fusion, 1st Quarter, 2017