Digital health consultations with dietitians increase accessibility
World Health Day is celebrated annually on 7 April, this year’s theme is Health for All. Digitalisation of healthcare is a way for care providers to make care more accessible - today many providers offer consultations through video calls. Karin Danielsson, director of Humlab and lecturer in informatics, leads a work package within the project Dietitian Online that investigates how dietitians' work has changed with the help of digital tools.
Text: Sandra Lundström
Karin Danielsson föreståndare Humlab
– Digitalisation offers possibilities which benefit accessibility within dietary treatments in different ways. For example, it makes it possible for dietitians to settle in sparsely populated areas but still offer care to people in larger cities, which reduces travel for both the dietitian and the patient. For the patient, it makes it easier to bring a next of kin to the consultation or to show their living environment without a physical home visit from the dietitian, says Karin.
Interview methodology and communication important part of dietitian’s work
A dietitian works to prevent, investigate, and treat illness related to diet and nutritional intake. Interview methodology and communication are very important parts of their work and their tasks include both individual meetings and group meetings.
– My experience is that dietitians are an ambitious and human-centered profession. I am very impressed by how those who have participated in the study are able to create the conditions for a personal conversation in the digital environment, despite the challenge of, for example, sensing a patient's mood, which is easier in a physical meeting.
Many dietitians see opportunities with digital consultations and have taken on this development in a very good way, even if in some cases training should have been offered to a higher degree.
The pandemic sped up the development
Today, there are several system in Sweden that offer different solutions and tools. For dietitians, the pandemic contributed to the development happening more quickly than it probably would have done otherwise. The speed has meant that the systems are implemented at the same time as they are also to be used, which means that for many dietitians it is about learning in the meantime, and from each other.
– Many dietitians see opportunities with digital consultations and have taken on this development in a very good way, even if in some cases training should have been offered to a higher degree.
Digital communication became part of the everyday life during the pandemic, perhaps especially for the older population who were occasionally advised to maintain stricter social distancing than younger age groups.
- There were many people who needed to become digitally active during the pandemic to keep in touch with their loved ones, so the digital competence among seniors is present today to a great extent.
About Dietitian Online
The purpose of the project is to investigate how efficiency and interaction are affected when the meeting between dietitian and patient takes place at a distance with the help of video calls. Head of Project is Petra Rydén, associate professor at the Department of Food and Nutrition. Sarah Persson, registered dietitian and now PhD student, is part of the work package that Karin Danielsson leads. Dietitian Online