CBORD Explains: Allergens, Interfaces, and Actionable Data

Medical and information technologies advance in tandem. The methods used to record and report patient information are as significant as the clinical diagnostic systems which identify a patient’s illness. Healthcare decisions are made based upon “actionable data” that is reported accurately and quickly. What is the most important aspect of data? Is it what is contained in the data? Or, is it when that data is recorded along with how it is integrated with other data be considered just as relevant?

For our monthly CBORD Explains article, we decided to examine allergen reporting and the differences through the interfaces that relay data to Nutrition Service Suite® (NSS).

If information is power, then the means of reporting information is equally powerful. We will describe how different courses of action can be considered using actionable data recorded and reported at different rates by these different interfaces using allergens as a working model.

Allergen Reporting

Between 1997 and 2011, the Centers for Disease control reported a 50% increase in the reporting of food allergies. At present an estimated 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with a food allergy severe enough that it is recorded as an essential data point when a patient is treated in a healthcare facility. Reporting the allergy of a patient is an essential component to their medical chart regardless of what they are being treated for or the duration of their stay. There are two interface options available for allergen reporting on CBORD’s Nutrition Service Suite: ADT and Diet Orders.

Allergen reporting in the Admit/Discharge/Transfer (ADT) interface can be recorded in an optional field filed alongside other diagnostic information. This reporting can be done multiple times by multiple people as a patient cycles through a facility. ADT interfaces send updates to their NSS systems much more frequently than reports sent through Diet Orders.

Reporting an allergy through the Diet Order interface provides minimal updates because messages are limited to patient diets and have little relationship with other aspects of a patient’s medical history. Reports transmitted through Diet Order are less frequent because they are sent to NSS only when diet order updates are sent.

Actions from Interfaces

What this contrast presents is a clearer picture of the spectrum of choices healthcare institutions, medical teams, and dietary teams can make to improve the quality of care being offered. Put another way, the allergy is reported through each interface in an accurate and efficient way, but the time difference of when that information is incorporated into the larger system can have a significant impact on a patient’s care. According to Karen Nocera, Integration Services Manager at CBORD, what matters most is information is recorded and reported quickly into NSS.

One option is to report allergens through Diet Orders alone; the clinician entering the data is specially trained to understand and adjust diets for patients with severe food allergies. Furthermore, this option can be ideal for specialized healthcare institutions such as acute-care facilities with a homogenous population and extensive dietary operations. Another option is incorporating allergen reporting into the ADT interface, where patient allergies are recorded and reported sooner from the facility because it is bundled alongside lots of other data. This early reporting also means that allergy information is integrated into other interfaces more quickly; this solution is advantageous for health systems providing multiple types of patient care.

A third option would be to combine both interfaces; reporting to NSS on both interfaces can easily be integrated together. Recording patient allergies through each system ensures a timely reporting to NSS and also gives dietitians the opportunity to view this information alongside any food orders. While this option does involve a lot of work integrating the information together, this choice remains popular. For those who are working in healthcare informatics, the significance of what is being reported is just as important as how it is recorded and when that information is relayed to CBORD to be integrated with other systems.