In this section

The pace of change in the digital healthcare arena is speeding up, and we need to keep up with it. This is high on the Allied Health Professions agenda at NHS England & Improvement. And now there is now A Digital Framework for Allied Health Professionals available that reinforces this.

We are committed to making sure our members are well equipped with the tools and resources to be able to embrace this change. From the transition to electronic record keeping, to using technological innovations in dietetic practice, we are here to lead the way.

Here dietitians can access resources to support the digital healthcare journey. 

Every dietitian will soon need to be a digital dietitian!


All dietitians need to be:

Digitally ready

Being successful in achieving the potential digital technology now offers, depends on three aspects. 

  1. Is there strategic alignment between your trust and the NHS digital strategy?
  2. Is there AHP leadership within your trust?
  3. Is there effective business planning & governance within your trust?

If the answer is yes to each of these questions, it is likely you will already be using technology to support you in clinical practice. This journey from paper to electronic record keeping can be a rocky road. It will come with its challenges.

To smooth this transition Digital Leadership is essential. This could be formal or informal. Some trusts now have clinical information officers (CIO) in post that bridge the gap between the information technology (IT) team and the clinicians. They translate technical language to clinicians, and visa versa. Whilst these are roles are a valuable resource, informal digital leadership can be even more powerful. This comes from within your teams. Dietitians who love technology will come into their own. This is the a perfect example of of bottom up leadership. Tech savvy dietitians are our best friends at the moment. They can support if given the chance to take on the role of leading this transition for the service. This is a safe opportunity for more recently qualified dietitians to exercise skills in leadership. Tech savvy dietitians have advanced digital literacy skills. This is what puts them in a great position to take a lead on this clinical to IT translation requirement. Dietitians who have a keen interest in digital leadership can take this to the next level and apply to the NHS Digital Academy.

Working to develop Digital Literacy is another step to becoming digitally ready. Health Education England offers A Health and Care Digital Capabilities Framework which can be used to identify and develop your digital needs. It is never too early to start thinking about this. Building skills in digital literacy will improve your digital readiness.

Digitally mature

Digitally mature services:

  1. Use electronic record keeping effectively
  2. Integrate data caputure into electronic recpord keeping.
  3. Allow for easy communication between health and care professionals
  4. Digitally enables service transformation

It is all about optimising the use of electronic health records. Dietitians need to engage with this process to make sure their IT systems are set up appropriately to enable timely accurate clinically representative notes, to be documented in a safe and secure way. IT services ensure general data protection regulations (GDPR) are in place, this is not a concern for clinicians anymore. It is a dietitians responsibility to create record keeping to allow for cliical effectiveness. If this is completed properly from the start, electronic record systems can pull data, and draw reports to evaluate practice, and demonstrate clinical effectiveness.

Our Record Keeping Standards are a useful resource to support dietitians with legislative requirements, and clinical standards (private/freelance dietitians will find these useful). Currently there is no one size fits all electronic dietetic record therefore all dietetic departments that are paperless will be using something different. 

We are working closely with the Professional Records Standards Body to influence national standards for multi-disciplinary integrated electronic record standards. A big piece of the work the PRSB is working on is to improve interoperability on a national level – this means allowing all record systems talk to one another – for example; if you were admitted to accident and emergency in Scotland, and you lived in wales, with a click of a button your full health record could be viewed to inform your care safely.

SNOMED CT is the language computer systems used in the UK, and by many other countries worldwide. If we all use the same language this enables us to collect data at a national, and international level. Having access to rich data is the key to demonstrating the impact of dietitians. It provides evidence to be able to show off what dietitians do!

Currently our message to members is to work closely with your local IT services to ensure your computer system has what you need. 

With support of NHS Digital we are creating a "Digital Dictionary for Dietitians” which will be available to all dietitians working within the national health service. This will allow dietitians to will be able to put in a request witrh your IT solutions team to integrate this into local electronic record keeping systems.  It will be a useful tool for members already using SNOMED, and for members who are due to go paperless. This is due to be launched in Summer 2020!

We have developed a template to support standardised electronic record keeping for dietitians. This integrates our Model & Care Process for Dietitians, and Outcome Data Framework. We have done the hard work for you. Please use this to support your practice. We intend to do a pilot which will be written up to validate the use of this in the Spring 2020. Though we know it works in practice, and it is freely available to members. For dietitians who like to be ahead of the game, get this on to your computer system now!

We would like all dietitians who use electronic record keeping to be digitally mature by the end of 2020!

Data enabled

There is no point having volumes of data and not doing anything with it. That would be like baking a stock pile of cookies, and watching them turn mouldy. Once dietitians are at the point of digital maturity, they will have the capacity to generate lots of very useful data, very easily. Data gives you the ability to make decisions about quality improvement, and service developments.

Also being able to generate data this easily makes research easier!

There are five areas you can use data:

 

Area

What dietitians can do to explore the use of data

Quality Improvement

  • Work with your CIO and/or IT solutions team to optimise the use of the available technology to support your quality improvement activities
  • Share and review examples through NHS Improvement and Health Foundation
  • Join the Q Community

Safety

  • Take e-learning on digital clinical safety standards via NHS Health Education England
  • Identify what data can be collected that could be used to identify improvements in the safety of service users.
  • Work with your local  Patient Safety Collaborative to develop solutions to identified problems.

Clinical Outcomes

  • Review how your outcome measures are currently recorded, used shared and acted on in your service or clinical area.
  • Check out our outcome tool [link to our web page] to support the development of standardised outcomes that could demonstrate the value of your service to commissioners.

Service User & Staff Experience

  • Consider how service users access your services and the information available on line.
  • Consider how you could use the technology could capture Patient Related Experience Measures (or staff experience for managers).
  • Identify your Clinical Information Officer, and if there isn’t one a key contact at the IT solutions team.

Resource Sustainability

(for managers)

 


#DigitalDietitians

Please join our network! Here you will be provided with opportunities and insights hot off the press. It is also a way to share best practice exchange ideas and learn from each other’s mistakes. We all make them, and we should make them. It is how we learn from this and share our learning experiences that matters. To join the network click below to email us now. Let’s work as a team to make every dietitian and digital dietitian!