Engaging hospitalised patients in their nutrition care using technology: development of the NUTRI-TEC intervention.

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Roberts, Shelley
Hopper, Zane
Chaboyer, Wendy
Gonzalez, Ruben
Banks, Merrilyn
Desbrow, Ben
Marshall, Andrea P
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BACKGROUND: Nutrition is vital for health and recovery during hospitalisation, however most patients fail to meet minimum dietary requirements and up to 50% of patients are malnourished in hospital. When patients participate in nutrition care, their dietary intakes are improved. Advances in health information technology (HIT) have broadened the ways by which patients can participate in care. Our team has developed an innovative, HIT-based intervention (called NUTRI-TEC; engaging patients in their nutrition care using technology), facilitating patient participation in their nutrition care in hospital. This paper aims to describe the systematic and iterative process by which the intervention was developed. METHODS: NUTRI-TEC development was informed by the Medical Research Council guidance for developing complex interventions and underpinned by theoretical frameworks and concepts (i.e. integrated knowledge translation and patient participation in care), existing evidence and a rigorous program of research. The intervention was co-developed by the multidisciplinary research team and stakeholders, including health consumers (patients), health professionals and industry partners. We used an iterative development and evaluation cycle and regularly tested the intervention with hospital patients and clinicians. RESULTS: The NUTRI-TEC intervention involves active patient participation in their nutrition care during hospitalisation. It has two components: 1) Patient education and training; and 2) Guided nutrition goal setting and patient-generated dietary intake tracking. The first component includes brief education on the importance of meeting energy/protein requirements in hospital; and training on how to use the hospital's electronic foodservice system, accessed via bedside computer screens. The second component involves patients recording their food intake after each meal on their bedside computer and tracking their intakes relative to their goals. This is supported with brief, daily goal-setting sessions with a health care professional. CONCLUSIONS: NUTRI-TEC is a HIT intervention designed to enable patient participation in their nutrition care in hospital. As research on HIT interventions to engage patients in health care in the hospital setting is in its infancy, and as gaps and inconsistencies in the development of such interventions exist, this paper will inform future development of HIT-based interventions in the hospital setting.

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BMC Health Services Research

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© The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

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Health services and systems

Public health

Complex interventions

Health information technology

Hospital patients

Integrated knowledge translation


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Roberts, S; Hopper, Z; Chaboyer, W; Gonzalez, R; Banks, M; Desbrow, B; Marshall, AP, Engaging hospitalised patients in their nutrition care using technology: development of the NUTRI-TEC intervention., BMC Health Services Research 2020, 20 (1), pp. 148:1-148:11