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Hy-Vee Inc. is making it easier for registered dietitians in supermarket settings to help customers develop healthy eating practices for general health and wellness, as well as manage diabetes, heart disease or other chronic conditions.
The Iowa-based supermarket chain has contracted with Pittsburgh based Personal Health Recording for Quality of Life (PHRQL, pronounced "freckle") to place its enterprise level electronic health record (EHR) system for medical nutrition therapy (MNT) in more than 200 of Hy-Vee's stores in eight states across the central and upper Midwest. PHRQL's software solution is known as Connect and Coach.
“We are pleased to add Connect and Coach to our customer wellness offerings,” said Julie McMillin, Hy-Vee director of health and wellness. “For almost 10 years, Hy-Vee has been a national leader in providing in-store nutrition services. Our dietitians will use this valuable tool to document and track one-on-one nutrition counseling sessions, group classes, and guide participants in achieving their overall health goals. As part of this long-term contract, we are also enthusiastic about innovating with PHRQL on other EHR-related services, including biometric screenings, employee wellness and electronic communications between various community partners.”
Addressing a Trending Need
Connect & Coach follows the Nutrition Care Process (NCP) from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a systematic approach to providing individuals with high-quality nutrition care and MNT. Connect & Coach is HIPAA-compliant so customers’ health data are secure. It provides both in-store and enterprise-level reporting for effective program management and generates invoices for services rendered that can be configured for electronic billing to insurance companies.
“Connect and Coach is a unique solution that fills a growing market need,” said Paul Sandberg, president of PHRQL. “It’s an easy-to-use solution that was developed especially for retailers rather than a traditional healthcare application migrated to a supermarket environment.”
Progressive Grocer proprietary research indicates that the percentage of supermarket chains hiring, or intending to hire, in-store dietitians grew from 20 percent to 30 percent between 2011 and 2012, and now stands at more than 47 percent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 133 million Americans have at least one chronic illness, such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, obesity, heart disease, stroke or cancer. That number is expected to increase. These health problems account for more than 50 percent of all deaths in the United States each year. Proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices in addition to exercise and well-managed medication use can contribute positively to patients with these conditions.