5 Questions With…Dr. Kirsty Maunder

5 Questions With…Dr. Kirsty Maunder, University of Wollongong and CBORD

Dr. Kirsty Maunder, honorary senior fellow at University of Wollongong and an implementation consultant at CBORD, talks with us about her passion for nutrition and how she is working to leverage technology in the healthcare industry.

Kirsty, an advanced accredited practicing dietitian, certified health informatician, and fellow of the Australasian Institute of Digital Health, has worked in nutrition informatics for the past 25 years, completing her doctorate on leveraging technology to enhance patient care and dietitian eHealth readiness. She is passionate about research and integrating evidence-based practice into technology solutions to improve resident/patient experience and outcomes and maximize organizational return on investment.

What drives your passion for health and nutrition?

Nutrition is a unique field that plays a pivotal role in everyone’s life, from supporting socialization and creating joyful, memorable moments to improving health outcomes of individuals and populations. My interest in health and nutrition was sparked from a young age, but my passion was developed in the healthcare space through the realization this field provides an opportunity to transform lives and create better outcomes for individuals and organizations.

Why is focusing on malnutrition important for hospitals and senior living/aged care facilities?

Malnutrition impacts up to 50% of residents/patients in our healthcare organizations, but only 8% receive a medical diagnosis of malnutrition, and consequently, the required nutrition support. The impact is significant for the individual, with higher rates of infection, increased length of stay, and a five-fold increase in mortality rates, in addition to contributing to $49 billion in healthcare costs annually in the U.S.

How can technology improve patient/resident/consumer outcomes?

The opportunity to not just bring improvements in efficiencies, communication, safety and reduce costs, but to transform practice, particularly when big data is well utilized. As an example, while malnutrition management standards and processes are well documented, the lack of interoperability and transparency across the workflow is contributing to the ongoing low rates of identification, diagnosis, and coding. An electronic tool to support the malnutrition management process and nutrition workflow and to provide transparency of practice through automated auditing as well as real-time dietary intake data will be key to closing this gap between prevalence and diagnosis/treatment.

You did a bike ride through Cambodia to raise money for girls’ education. Tell us more.

I did! 270km on dirt roads in 99°F heat!

Plan International partnered with Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (promoting positive food habits for life in children), creating a valuable initiative to reach communities most in need, adding a nutrition focus to the Cycle for Girls education fundraiser. I was privileged to have access to free public education, which empowered me to become an accredited practicing dietitian and complete a Ph.D. The opportunity to support education for girls and education on nutrition for better health outcomes by cycling around the amazing country of Cambodia was a perfect and irresistible challenge!

What’s the next big thing you are working on?

Rather than continue to conduct business as usual transferred into the electronic space, it’s critical that dietitians leverage technology to support innovation and transformation of practice. I am passionate about well-designed electronic systems that don’t just support standardization, efficiencies, communication, and safety, but also provide the means to collect quality evidence-based data to review practice, prioritize residents/patients, and continually improve individual patient/resident care and organizational outcomes.

Contact us today to learn how we can support you in managing your food and nutrition program.