Background & aims: Compliance to guidelines for disease-related malnutrition is documented as poor. The practice of using paper-based dietary recording forms with manual calculation of the patient's nutritional intake is considered cumbersome, time-consuming and unfeasible among the nurses and does often not lead to appropriate nutritional treatment. We developed the digital decision support system MyFood to deliver a solution to these challenges. MyFood is comprised of an app for patients and a website for nurses and includes functions for dietary recording, evaluation of intake compared to requirements, and a report to nurses including tailored recommendations for nutritional treatment and a nutritional care plan for documentation. The study aimed to investigate the effects of using the MyFood decision support system during hospital stay on adult patients' nutritional status, treatment and hospital length of stay. The main outcome measure was weight change.
Methods: The study was a parallel-arm randomized controlled trial. Patients who were allocated to the intervention group used the MyFood app during their hospital stay and the nurses were encouraged to use the MyFood system. Patients who were allocated to the control group received routine care.
Results: We randomly assigned 100 patients (51.9 ± 14 y) to the intervention group (n = 49) and the control group (n = 51) between August 2018 and February 2019. Losses to follow-up were n = 5 in the intervention group and n = 1 in the control group. No difference was found between the two groups with regard to weight change. Malnutrition risk at discharge was present in 77% of the patients in the intervention group and 94% in the control group (p = 0.019). Nutritional treatment was documented for 81% of the patients in the intervention group and 57% in the control group (p = 0.011). A nutritional care plan was created for 70% of the intervention patients compared to 16% of the control patients (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: The intervention had no effect on weight change during hospital stay. A higher proportion of the patients in the control group was malnourished or at risk of malnutrition at hospital discharge compared to the patients in the intervention group. The documentation of nutritional intake, treatment and nutritional care plans was higher for the patients using the MyFood system compared to the control group. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03412695).
Keywords: Decision support system; Disease-related malnutrition; Nutritional intervention; Nutritional status; Nutritional treatment; eHealth.
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