Friday, October 24, 2014

Using Telehealth to Ease COPD Symptoms

New research from Duke University shows telehealth sessions may help reduce symptoms associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, and improve quality of life. The study, INSPIRE-II, was conducted over a 5 year period at Duke University Health System and The Ohio State University. One group of 147 patients with COPD was provided with counseling by a psychologist over the phone on stress management and relaxation techniques. A second (control) group of 151 patients with COPD received only medication and nutrition counseling. According to the article on the website Pharmacy Times, “by the conclusion of the study, those who received information on managing reactions to stressful events reported improvements in depression, anxiety, fatigue, and shortness of breath compared with control subjects” (Pharmacy Times, 2014).

The article goes on to say that there was no difference in hospitalization or deaths caused by COPD between the two groups of patients.

Although this study did not explore telehealth directly related to dietetics, it is still promising to see that telehealth was effective in delivering healthcare. Telehealth is a relatively new concept, so it is great for healthcare practitioners who are adopting this technique to approach it with an evidence-based background.

Pharmacy Times. (9, October 2014). Telehealth stress management intervention may reduce COPD symptoms. Retrieved from


New Recommendations for Diabetes Screening

Earlier in October, the United States Preventative Services Task Force amended its recommendations on screening for diabetes. Under the new recommendations, screening for diabetes and prediabetes would be performed on all adults over age 45. The recommendations also encouraged uniform insurance coverage for these screenings in order to help families have access to such life-changing services.

It's no secret that detecting diabetes early enough can help patients get the diet and lifestyle education they need, which could possibly reverse the course of the disease. Early detection and medical nutrition therapy from Certified Diabetes Educators has also been proven to save significant taxpayer dollars and cut health care spending.

This focus on preventative medicine is a trend that isn't going to go away anytime soon, and dietitians are fortunate to be on the forefront of providing such preventative care.

As future clinical nutrition managers and clinical dietitians, justifying our jobs is something we're constantly going to have to be able to do. In the coming years, I think we're going to see more and more research on the many ways that preventative care can save lives and money, and this research is only going to encourage hospital administrators, physicians and other healthcare professionals to value and utilize dietitian services in a multitude of ways.

- AP

October 24th is Food Day

Today is Food Day, the 4th annual celebration of real food and a day to encourage a push for improved food policies. Food Day was started by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, but it has since expanded to include organizations from all sectors that are interested in food and nutrition.

The 2014 Food Day advisory board includes senators and members of the House of Representatives, chefs, professors, public health officials, and Pat Babjak, the CEO of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 

This year, some of Food Day's national priorities aim to promote safe and healthier diets and to reduce hunger, which are two things that future dietitians should have no problem getting behind. We always encourage patients and clients to choose whole foods over processed meals and dietary supplements, which is one of the hallmarks of Food Day. Additionally, it's a good reminder for us to stay involved in public policy, as laws and regulations can have a resounding impact on the ways we're able to practice and the foods that we eat daily.

Events like Food Day are a great way for dietitians and CNMs to get involved in their communities, not only as a way to promote healthy eating, but to make themselves known to the community as the leading experts on health and wellness.

- AP

A U.N. agency for nutrition?

United Nations delegates met last week for the Committee on World Food Security, and rumors were swirling about a proposed agency to promote nutrition worldwide.

Turns out, they really were just rumors, and right now, the plan is to work on creating a more established and connected nutrition network out of the committees that already exist, rather than forming a new agency entirely.

Despite this story ultimately turning out to be false, I think it raises some interesting points for us in the field. Should there be an agency dedicated solely to nutrition? And if so, who would serve as members? I would hope that dietitians and clinical nutrition managers would be adequately represented, as well as public health officials and other healthcare professionals.

We always talk about how important it is to be advocates for what we do, and certainly no agency that would position itself as a leader in nutrition information would be complete without the input of dietitians across the world.

- AP

CNM Mission & Vision

In class, we've been talking a lot about the importance of having a clear and communicated mission and/or vision, as it helps define who you are as an organization now and in the future.

While I was searing for articles to blog about, I came across the Mission and Vision of the Clinical Nutrition Managers practice group from the Academy, and I thought I would share it below:
The CNM DPG is a dynamic group of leaders who strive to improve the quality of nutrition care in the health industry. We pride ourselves in offering guidance and sharing resources with one another.
CNM members work in a variety of settings including acute care, community services, long-term care, private practice, and government services among others. It is this varied background that enables our members to offer many perspectives and resources. We are at an exciting juncture for our group. We have plans to develop and expand our member benefits in the coming year. So, it’s a rewarding time to be a CNM member.
Our Vision:
Recognized as valued leaders in healthcare
Our Mission:
Shape leadership to advance nutrition practices in healthcare
Our Goals:
Current and perspective members view the CNM DPG as key to their leadership success.
Advance clinical nutrition practices consistent with the 6 aims and 5 core competencies of the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
Equip members to lead and manage in a rapidly changing environment.

I am a big fan of the mission and the goals that the practice group has published. I think sometimes I read mission statements that are wordy and filled with all sorts of fluff that make it hard to understand exactly what the organization is trying to say. This one is concise and to the point, and the goals are specific and attainable. Since the CNM practice group serves as a platform for CNMs across the country, I think this mission statement does an excellent job of representing who CNMs are and what they hope to accomplish. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reducing Hospital Readmission Rates with Nutrition

A recent article on CNN, “New Large-Scale Study Will Look at How Nutrition Can Help Keep Patients from Returning to the Hospital,” discusses a new prospective study by Abbott Nutrition and Advocate Health Care that is going to research the effect nutrition has on hospital readmission rates for 3,000 adults. According to Tom Summerfelt, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Innovation (Advocate Health Care), Advocate Health Care, located in Illinois, is one of the largest health care systems in the Midwestern United States. Four hospitals are going to be used in the study; two hospitals will provide quick nutritional care, and the other two hospitals will provide nutritional care as is normally done. Upon admission at the quick nutritional care hospitals, patients are going to be nutritionally screened, and those assessed as high-risk will immediately receive a nutritional supplement. Furthermore, these patients will be given added education and receive a discharge plan and discharge follow-up phone calls. The readmission rates between the two sets of hospitals will then be compared.

Hospitals have been working diligently to reduce 30-day hospital readmission rates and the associated costs of readmission (Summerfelt, 2014). Additionally, reduced hospital readmission rates will result in better outcomes for patients (Summerfelt, 2014).

It will be interesting to see if any significance in readmission rates is found between the two sets of hospitals and the impact quick nutrition care has on patient outcomes. If positive results are found, this would certainly alter the way many registered dietitians in the clinical setting currently do their jobs.

CNN. (20, October 2014). New large-scale study will look at how nutrition can help keep patients from returning to the hospital. Retrieved from


Mediterranean Diet Leads to Better Heart Health”

     Although as future dietitians, I think it's important to remain neutral concerning specific diets, it's hard to deny the amount of information supporting the Mediterranean diet and its benefits for a myriad of diseases. This article discusses the Mediterranean diet's ability to reverse Metabolic Syndrome, characterized by three or more of the following risk factors: Low HDL, high triglycerides, large waist, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

     The research compared a low-fat diet to a Mediterranean diet (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, legumes), supplemented with extra fats from either extra virgin olive oil or nuts. The research, which was conducted on 6,000 men and women at increased risk for heart disease in Spain, found that although the Mediterranean diet didn't reduce the chance of developing Metabolic Syndrome, it did increase the chance of reversing this syndrome compared to a low-fat diet.

          “Those on the Mediterranean diet with extra olive oil were 45 percent more likely than those            on the low-fat diet to reverse the condition and those on the Mediterranean diet supplemented            with nuts were 28 percent more likely to reverse metabolic syndrome, according to the study”

Additionally, the research found that 28% of the subjects had reversed their Metabolic Syndrome in a five year follow-up.

     This study is important for CNM's, as it provides another way to supply medical nutrition therapy for patients. Metabolic Syndrome is a prerequisite to heart disease and its reversal could prevent heart disease and the costs associated with treating it.