Optimizing the nutrition support care model: Analysis of survey data

ASPEN Physician Engagement Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Malnutrition is underrecognized and underdiagnosed, despite high prevalence rates and associated poor clinical outcomes. The involvement of clinical nutrition experts, especially physicians, in the care of high-risk patients with malnutrition remains low despite evidence demonstrating lower complication rates with nutrition support team (NST) management. To facilitate solutions, a survey was designed to elucidate the nature of NSTs and physician involvement and identify needs for novel nutrition support care models. Methods: This survey assessed demographics of NSTs, factors contributing to the success of NSTs, elements of nutrition education, and other barriers to professional growth. Results: Of 255 respondents, 235 complete surveys were analyzed. The geographic distribution of respondents correlated with population concentrations of the United States (r = 90.8%, p <.0001). Most responding physicians (46/57; 80.7%) reported being a member of NSTs, compared with 56.5% (88/156) of dietitians. Of those not practicing in NSTs (N = 81/235, 34.4%), 12.3% (10/81) reported an NST was previously present at their institution but had been disbanded. Regarding NSTs, financial concerns were common (115/235; 48.9%), followed by leadership (72/235; 30.6%), and healthcare professional (HCP) interest (55/235; 23.4%). A majority (173/235; 73.6%) of all respondents wanted additional training in nutrition but reported insufficient protected time, ability to travel, or support from administrators or other HCPs. Conclusion: Core actions resulting from this survey focused on formalizing physician roles, increasing interdisciplinary nutrition support expertise, utilizing cost-effective screening for malnutrition, and implementing intervention protocols. Additional actions included increasing funding for clinical practice, education, and research, all within an expanded portfolio of pragmatic nutrition support care models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1709-1724
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • chronic care model
  • malnutrition
  • medical economics
  • medical nutrition
  • nutrition
  • nutrition support
  • nutrition support teams
  • reimbursement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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