NIDDK Director's Update Spring 2013

Health Information Updates

NKDEP forms group to guide electronic records improvements for people with kidney disease


When healthcare practitioners review the charts of their patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), they often look for measures like estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urine albumin. But as many practitioners transition from using paper records to electronic health records and patients change providers, connecting and transferring this information across different electronic systems can be difficult.

The National Kidney Disease Education Program is working to eliminate these “lost in translation” patient records. In October 2012, NKDEP’s new Health Information Technology Working Group first met to work toward establishing guidelines for what and how electronic health information for people with CKD should be transferred across electronic health records systems.

The idea for the group originated with NKDEP’s community health center pilot project. During the project, several centers transitioned to using electronic records. But because these records systems did not communicate with one another, the centers were unable to establish patient registries and follow some patients’ continued progress in meeting CKD health goals.

“The goal of our group is to improve the detection and management of chronic kidney disease by enabling and supporting the widespread interoperability of data related to kidney health among healthcare software applications,” said the group’s chair, Dr. Uptal D. Patel, associate professor of medicine and in pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine.

In the short term, the group will identify what information is critical to kidney disease detection and management, and what changes need to be made technologically to better translate that information. In the long term, the group plans to engage industry, govenment and other partners to address these barriers, including by working with companies that create electronic health record systems.

NKDEP Director Dr. Andrew Narva said the impact of the working group’s efforts could be huge for both patients and their health care providers. “If the working group is successful,” he said, “healthcare providers should more easily be able to identify and monitor their patients with CKD and to implement changes to improve their health.”

Health literacy audit enhances NDEP materials


Three of the National Diabetes Education Program's most popular publications have been reviewed for health literacy and branding, which has resulted in improvements in how NDEP creates understandable, easy-to-read print materials. Publications have been revised to address health literacy and plain language principles such as:

  • Content: Have a clear purpose and focus on behaviors that support the objectives of the piece that the reader can accomplish
  • Literacy demand: Match the reading level of the material to the reading skill level of the target audiences
  • Health numeracy: Limit and simplify numeric concepts
  • Graphics and visuals/Layout and design: Ensure graphics and visuals convey the main messages or purpose of the content

These materials from NDEP have been tested with target audiences, and technical reviewers have verified the accuracy of all scientific and medical information.

Order or download your free copy: Choose More than 50 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes, and Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime.

NDIC creates new diabetes materials for health care instructors, consumers

Be Active covers

Keeping physically active can significantly help people manage their diabetes and lower the risk of complications. Be Active When You Have Diabetes, a new booklet and instructor’s guide from the NIDDK’s National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), helps people with diabetes lean about the health benefits of being physically active and ways to increase their activity level.

The booklet, written at a second- to third-grade reading level, contains tools to help people create and manage a physical activity plan, record target goals, and track their activities. A sample starter activity plan and questions for people to ask their health care team are provided.

Be Active When You Have Diabetes: A Guide for Instructors is the companion guide developed for use in one-on-one or small group patient education. Instructors may include nurses, diabetes educators, or community health workers. The flipbook provides color illustrations and large-print text on the patient side and simple teaching points on the corresponding instructor pages. The teaching points prompt people to come up with their own ideas about being more active and commit to a starter plan. The booklet and instructor’s guide include a list of relevant resources from across NIH.

The booklet and instructor’s guide are available here.

For more information about diabetes, visit the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse website.

Division of Nutrition Research Coordination launches newsletter

DNRC logo

A newsletter aimed at health professionals and nutrition researchers has been developed by the NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination. The quarterly publication provides NIH nutrition research highlights, interviews, information about upcoming conferences, and resources of interest. You can subscribe to the newsletter.

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