DietPal

A Web-based dietary menu-generating and management system

Shahrul Azman Mohd Noah, Siti Norul Huda Sheikh Abdullah, Suzana Shahar, Helmi Abdul-Hamid, Nurkahirizan Khairudin, Mohamed Yusoff, Rafidah Ghazali, Nooraini Mohd-Yusoff, Nik Shanita Safii, Zahara Abdul Manaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Attempts in current health care practice to make health care more accessible, effective, and efficient through the use of information technology could include implementation of computer-based dietary menu generation. While several of such systems already exist, their focus is mainly to assist healthy individuals calculate their calorie intake and to help monitor the selection of menus based upon a prespecified calorie value. Although these prove to be helpful in some ways, they are not suitable for monitoring, planning, and managing patients' dietary needs and requirements. This paper presents a Web-based application that simulates the process of menu suggestions according to a standard practice employed by dietitians. Objective: To model the workflow of dietitians and to develop, based on this workflow, a Web-based system for dietary menu generation and management. The system is aimed to be used by dietitians or by medical professionals of health centers in rural areas where there are no designated qualified dietitians. Methods: First, a user-needs study was conducted among dietitians in Malaysia. The first survey of 93 dietitians (with 52 responding) was an assessment of information needed for dietary management and evaluation of compliance towards a dietary regime. The second study consisted of ethnographic observation and semi-structured interviews with 14 dietitians in order to identify the workflow of a menu-suggestion process. We subsequently designed and developed a Web-based dietary menu generation and management system called DietPal. DietPal has the capability of automatically calculating the nutrient and calorie intake of each patient based on the dietary recall as well as generating suitable diet and menu plans according to the calorie and nutrient requirement of the patient, calculated from anthropometric measurements. The system also allows reusing stored or predefined menus for other patients with similar health and nutrient requirements. Results: We modeled the workflow of menu-suggestion activity currently adhered to by dietitians in Malaysia. Based on this workflow, a Web-based system was developed. Initial post evaluation among 10 dietitians indicates that they are comfortable with the organization of the modules and information. Conclusions: The system has the potential of enhancing the quality of services with the provision of standard and healthy menu plans and at the same time increasing outreach, particularly to rural areas. With its potential capability of optimizing the time spent by dietitians to plan suitable menus, more quality time could be spent delivering nutrition education to the patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-48
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Fingerprint

Nutritionists
Nutrients
Nutrition
Health care
Workflow
Health
Information technology
Quality of service
Education
Malaysia
Planning
Monitoring
Food
Rural Health Services
Delivery of Health Care
Nutritional Requirements
Patient Education
Compliance
Observation
Interviews

Keywords

  • Dietary services
  • Health
  • Health information system
  • Information systems
  • Internet
  • Menu planning
  • Web-based services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

DietPal : A Web-based dietary menu-generating and management system. / Mohd Noah, Shahrul Azman; Sheikh Abdullah, Siti Norul Huda; Shahar, Suzana; Abdul-Hamid, Helmi; Khairudin, Nurkahirizan; Yusoff, Mohamed; Ghazali, Rafidah; Mohd-Yusoff, Nooraini; Safii, Nik Shanita; Abdul Manaf, Zahara.

In: Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2004, p. 32-48.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mohd Noah, Shahrul Azman ; Sheikh Abdullah, Siti Norul Huda ; Shahar, Suzana ; Abdul-Hamid, Helmi ; Khairudin, Nurkahirizan ; Yusoff, Mohamed ; Ghazali, Rafidah ; Mohd-Yusoff, Nooraini ; Safii, Nik Shanita ; Abdul Manaf, Zahara. / DietPal : A Web-based dietary menu-generating and management system. In: Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2004 ; Vol. 6, No. 1. pp. 32-48.
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