Improve Your Telenutrition Care With These 6 Tips
Here are 6 tips toward better telenutrition care delivery and patient outcomes
Like most telehealth services, telenutrition is still fairly new in the world of digital health. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective. In fact, if you’re reading this, you probably already offer telenutrition services and know first hand. Or maybe you're looking to add it as a service and simply want to cover all your bases. Either way, we’re glad you made it.
Telenutrition offers greater access to nutrition and dietary care to patients with little to no in-person access. So, it’s important that we continue to look for ways to innovate and elevate its services. Without further ado, here are six ways to elevate your telenutrition services for better nutrition care.
1. Hire culturally competent RDNs and Dietitians
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an important one. As the industry continues to find more research pointing towards highly individualized plans, telenutrition companies need to make sure they hire RDs and RDNs that are sensitive to any factors that could affect their patient’s nutrition plans.
These could include different lifestyles, ideas, customs, behaviors, and religions or spirituality. The complexity does pose a challenge for the healthcare industry, who need to be adequately trained to navigate this diversity. However, this level of care is what will set you apart and what your patients deserve.
Additionally, telehealth companies need to invest or continue to invest in a high-quality licensing and credentialing process that verifies the qualifications and experience of the professionals they hire. Not only does this ensure they are meeting compliance standards, it sets them up for success with their patients as well.
2. Prioritize transparency
Few Americans believe nutrition professionals regularly admit their mistakes or are open about potential conflicts of interest according to a Pew Research study. Add that to the overall uncertainty about the validity of virtual care still plaguing the industry and you get a recipe for mistrust. That can be harmful for your digital health company and the industry as a whole.
Being totally transparent with your patients and your nutrition professionals allows trust to build on all levels. This assurance gives nutrition professionals the confidence to perform at their best and give their patients the best quality of care as a result. Thus, building a positive patient outlook on the service and telenutrition as a whole.
3. Invest in platform accessibility
Make sure your platform is accessible if it isn’t already. This should be a priority for any website/virtual platform in any industry or field. Making sure accessibility standards are met creates an inclusive environment and invites a good user experience for anyone. This is especially true for digital healthcare and telenutrition.
Patients using these platforms often have chronic health conditions and/or disabilities that could affect how they are able to interact with the technology. Potentially making it difficult for them to navigate the platform and, ultimately, creating a bad patient experience. If digital health companies put accessibility on the back burner, they are excluding a population of people who could benefit from virtual healthcare.
In the spirit of transparency, it can be pricey to get your HIPAA compliant platform ADA and WCAG accessible. However, it’s never a bad idea to start collecting information on what that investment might look like for the company and perhaps set a timeline.
How do you know if you meet ADA and WCAG standards already?
Run your website through an ADA Compliance Checker. Many compliance companies who provide ADA and WCAG compliance services offer automated free website scans to find and fix any accessibility issues. Here are a few of them:
4. Integrate RPM devices
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices are used in nutrition care to understand how a patient may interact with the food they’re eating.
For example, those working with patients who have type I or II diabetes, a continuous glucose monitor (glucometer) is an important indicator of how different foods may be affecting their blood sugar. They can then work in tandem with the patient's primary care provider to come up with an individualized diet plan.
Other RPM devices include:
Blood pressure monitor
Meal tracking apps
Heart rate monitors
Wearables (Apple watches, FitBit, etc.)
All of these devices provide data that is and can be helpful to an RN or RDN when determining their patients individualized plan. Whenever data is being sent or received via EHR, make sure that it is being done securely and is compliant with HIPAA standards.
5. Expand your payer coverage network
Where there is healthcare, there is payer coverage. Another part of providing patients with nutrition care anywhere is having access to providers covered by their same insurance. We won’t sugar coat it, this can take a lot of work and many years to develop if you do it on your own. However, this can be what takes your telenutrition and/or digital health company to the next level.
Giving patients access to providers who are in-network makes seeking nutritional care more affordable. It also allows you to scale your telehealth services much faster too. Meaning, people are going to seek out this kind of care more often without fear of breaking the bank. Giving people the opportunity to seek the care they need.
The good news is it doesn’t have to take you years. OpenLoop has already put in the work for you. Our payer coverage exceeds 80% coverage by nationwide insurance payers with OpenLoop’s network of credentialed clinicians. We save our clients the years of work and resources required to assemble and curate such an expansive roster of covered clinicians. This in turn gives partner companies the opportunity to prioritize expanding patient access to life changing care.
6. Go beyond weight loss
No doubt weight loss is a big part of nutrition care with 41.9% of the U.S. population being obese. However, there are many other reasons people may seek care. Some of them include:
Abnormal Lab Values
Fertility and Pregnancy
While these should all be monitored by a patient's physician as well, you're cutting yourself and your nutrition professionals short if you're only providing weight loss services. Offering what’s listed above opens the door to patients who want to fix their relationship with food, are looking to enhance their athletic ability, or perhaps want to regulate their thyroid issues.
It’s great that you're seeking out new innovative ways to elevate your telenutrition services! In addition to our payer coverage, OpenLoop offers a suite of telehealth support services designed to push you toward the future. Our company provides intuitive technology customized for your business and your patients.
Recently, we partnered with ReShape Lifesciences to provide a nationwide, physician-led, telehealth solution for reshapecare™virtual weight loss coaching. reshapecare™ is a HIPAA-compliant, effective, convenient virtual health coaching program delivered through ReShape Lifesciences’™ innovative app, which enhances behavior change through patient engagement.
Additionally, we also partner with hospitals and clinics across the country to match patients with our vast network of multi-state licensed and credentialed clinicians to deliver the best in virtual care.
Interested in what we can do for your organization? Get in touch here!
Our full suite of Telehealth Support Services include: