Calorie Count Card

/ UCSF Quality Improvement Project, 2019

/ Print Design & Collateral

/ Educational Marketing

Calorie Count Card

The calorie count card is a pocket-sized card made for medical providers to explain when it is appropriate to order a calorie count to the nutrition team at UCSF Medical Center. This card was made to not only serve as an informational reminder to the medical team but also to increase workflow efficiency for the clinical nutrition team. 

This project was led by the entire nutrition department as part of our annual organizational improvement efforts. I took on the design and marketing roles for this project.  

What is a Calorie Count?

A calorie count is a 24-hour count of calories and grams of protein a patient eats in the hospital, obtained with the help of diet technicians and nursing staff. The purpose of this is to determine whether a patient would benefit from initiating nutrition support (such as intravenous nutrition or tube feeding formulas) if he or she is not taking in sufficient amounts of nutrition, or alternatively, to determine whether a patient can be weaned off of nutrition support if he or she is eating enough.

The Problem

The nutrition department was receiving an excessive amount of requests for calorie counts, and many times they were inappropriately ordered due to the inadvertent timing or medical plan for the patient.

Based off of these observations, we wondered — did the medical team know the purpose of calorie counts and when it would be appropriate to order them?

Our Objectives

  1. Educate the medical team (doctors, nurse practitioners, residents, medical interns) on the appropriate use of calorie counts.

  2. Create and distribute a visual that would facilitate the decision-making process for the medical team when deciding to order a calorie count. 

The Process

Given that the nutrition service department is an ancillary department in the hospital, the challenge was to identify the right method of communication to target the most medical staff as we could. Please scroll through the images on the right to view my process with this project. 

Final Takeaways

We printed 500 of these cards and distributed them to different medical teams across the UCSF Medical Center. The response was overwhelmingly positive, as many residents thanked us for creating a useful tool for future patient care.


Update: It has been 3 months since distributing this card and I have seen it make a huge difference. Our nutrition team has been receiving much fewer requests for calorie counts and the requests that we do receive seem more clinically appropriate. It has been rewarding, to say the least, to see doctors and nurse practitioners in the hallways with this card in their coat pockets and whip them out to reference our calorie count decision tree.


 © Sofia Moon 2020 

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