Informatics Is a Skill to Take with You

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I have been a RDN for almost eight years and I've found that, no matter where I go, technology and informatics are changing the way we do everything.

In 2011, I worked in clinical dietetics in a hospital setting. I later became the super-user for our hospital's electronic health record (EHR). The EHR system was totally new to me, but after a series of intense training sessions, I took responsibility for designing the nutrition screening and assessment portion of the system. It was such a fascinating experience and a great opportunity to do something different from my regular job duties.

Plus, because of my work, the clinical nutrition team was able to provide inputs to improve the charting system. Although I am not working in the same hospital anymore, my work then still benefits the dietitians who have succeeded me in the job.

Today, while I no longer work in clinical, I still use informatics. In my current position I use an application to follow every step of dietary supplement manufacturing — from the idea stage to the day our company ships a finished products to different countries around the world. My main role is to evaluate and ensure safety and efficacy of the product formulas and provide appropriate recommendations through the system.

Even though this job is totally different from my previous position, what I learned in 2011 about computer systems and applications is similar. Technology can do so much if we fully understand how it works — and its limitations are simply an opportunity for an improvement in our lives.

Simon Sum
Simon Sum, MS, MPhil, RDN, ACSM-CPT, is the manager of scientific affairs at Herbalife International of America, Inc. and is pursuing a doctorate in clinical nutrition at Rutgers University.