More than 40 years ago, an article was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that raised the alarm on patient malnutrition. Despite improvements in hospital food service, that number continues to rise. Recent estimates suggest that one of every three patients entering the hospital is malnourished. If these deficiencies go unaddressed, two-thirds of these patients will experience continued nutritional decline. According to the National Institutes of Health, 3.2% of patients discharged from hospitals left with a diagnosis of malnutrition, being more than twice as likely to be discharged to home care. Patients who are malnourished see higher rates of pressure ulcers and infections, and showed slowed wound healing. These patients have higher rates of readmission; they require longer hospital stays, and increasingly costly care. Expanding the training of clinical staff to use benchmarks for diagnosis of malnutrition as presented by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics can expand the use of codes relating to a diagnosis of malnutrition and those associated with its treatment. In identifying and treating patients who are malnourished at admission, or those who are at risk of becoming malnourished during their stay, there is an opportunity to improve patient care and outcomes while making use of previously unavailable sources of revenue. When malnutrition is identified in a patient, they will undergo treatment based on the level of their caloric/nutritive deficiency. Laboratory tests, prescribed supplements and consultation and assessment by a registered dietitian are all necessary to provide comprehensive care while providing revenue for the hospital.
By implementing dietary office management software to automate patient food service, you have the power to connect clinical staff with dietary and nutrition information that is accessible with patient record and updated in real time. Based on ongoing assessments, clinicians can review what nutrients a patient has been given and order or discontinue supplements based on lab results. Through the use of patient menu ordering software with tray tracking and nutritional intake assessment modules, practitioners are able to monitor the caloric and nutritive intake of their most vulnerable patients. By offering a room service model for patient ordering, or implementing a call-center approach, patients are given greater control over meals by choosing when they are served, as well as having a full range of safe selections available that let patients create meals based on their preferences. When patients have greater control over food service, they consume more nutrients, have better outcomes and report greater overall satisfaction with their hospital stay. At Vision Software, we offer comprehensive software solutions to help you identify and treat malnutrition in your patients while improving productivity and decreasing food costs. Call 629.777.8989 or visit Vision Software today to learn more about this effective, easy-to-implement software solution.