IDNT Online to transition into full CMS for dietitians

Start-up Tasmanian software developer FC Dietetic Software Solutions is working to transform its IDNT Online documentation system into a full clinical management solution for dietitians.

Established in May last year by clinical dietitian Claire Nichols and software engineer Felix Jorkowski, FC Dietetic Software Solutions launched a beta version of IDNT Online last September, and has also recently released an app that works as a quick and easy reference tool to search for terms used in the International Dietetic and Nutrition Terminology (IDNT).

Now, the team has plans to build a complete clinical management solution that will be web-based and specific to the needs of dietitians. Mr Jorkowski said he would begin by developing patient file functionality, before working on integration with Medicare Online and the national eHealth system, including an interface with the PCEHR.

Currently, IDNT Online allows dietitians to write electronic client reports using the IDNT, a standardised language used to support the international Nutrition Care Process (NCP) model.

Ms Nichols said there wasn't any current software that used the IDNT in this way, so she and Mr Jorkowski saw a gap in the market, particularly for dietitians working in the private sector who she said were under-serviced with software options.

“Dietitians are either using GP software or psychology software,” she said. “There are a couple of systems out there for allied health but they are more general and there's nothing specific to the needs of the dietitian. With IDNT, there isn't really any software that uses it the way we do.”

IDNT Online is completely web-based, using Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, and can be run on tablets and mobile devices. It is currently in beta testing so is free to use by dietitians for the time being, although once it becomes a full-service CMS, the team will offer it as a licensed package, Mr Jorkowski said.

Ms Nichols said IDNT was similar to terminology sets such as SNOMED or ICD but is specifically for dietetics, although there are plans to include it in SNOMED in future.

“Why dietitians need their own standardised language is because our assessment is based very much on people's oral intake and they are parameters that other health professionals don't look at,” she said.

“It's a way of standardising the language the way that SNOMED does to make sure that everyone, when they write anything as a chart entry, it means the same thing. It's the same as in medicine – different words can be interpreted in different ways.

“The aim is to have software that is able to be used by people that aren't very familiar with the terminology, so it lets you search for terms. The terms are then added to a report and they can be entered into a patient's record and used for letters, for example.”

The team also plans in future to add the capability to do evaluation and monitoring, so the software can be used to monitor changes in a patient's condition over time. “There are outcome indicators and it can be used to show whether nutritional care is helping to improve their health,” Ms Nichols said.

“That's why we chose to use IDNT rather than just do it in a more generalised way. We are in the process of changing the software into more of a clinical management system so that there will be patient files.”

The app was developed as a quick reference tool to allow dietitians to search for IDNT terms. Ms Nichols said the company had received multiple requests from other dietitians for an IDNT app.

“The increased use of tablets and smart phones in a clinical setting as a method of accessing information is another reason why there was a desire for the option of an app,” she said.

Mr Jorkowski has developed the app for iOS phones and devices, Android devices and Windows phones.

Ms Nichols said the original intention was to build the software for public-sector dietitians such as herself, but that has proved more difficult than for private dietitians.

“At the moment it varies in what software area health services use and I've worked at a few in my career. At the moment, they use the electronic health or medical records that the hospital has, but we were aiming that our software would integrate with their EMRs, so the dietitian writes the notes on our software. We have moved away from that because there is more interest in the private area.”

Mr Jorkowski said that he hoped that when more functionality has been built in to IDNT Online, the team might have a better crack at the public-sector market.

One way of doing that is to develop an evidence base, which Ms Nichols hopes to achieve through a randomised controlled trial through one of the universities she is talking to. “Once we have that done and there is some evidence that doing notes in this way and reporting outcomes does have advantages, I think the uptake will be a lot greater.”

The team is also looking at export markets, particularly in the US and Canada where IDNT is also used. IDNT has already been translated into different languages, and Ms Nichols said she had received some interest in the software from Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

The team hopes to launch the full CMS at the Dietitians Association of Australia's national conference in Canberra in May.

Posted in Allied Health

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