Occupational Information and Electronic Health Records

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Environmental Health, Public Health
Board: Board on Health Sciences Policy

Activity Description

At the request of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the IOM will conduct a study to examine the rationale and feasibility of incorporating work history information into patient electronic health records. NIOSH seeks to ensure meaningful use of occupational information in electronic health records by 2015. This will require the agency's demonstration of feasibility by 2013. The IOM will plan and hold data-gathering meetings, including a public workshop; conduct analysis; hold deliberations; and prepare a letter report with findings and recommendations that will address the following issues:

  • Significance—What are the potential benefits to individual and public health of incorporating occupational information in electronic health records?
  • Current environment—Are there current systems which incorporate work history into the record in a manner which supports clinical decision making and public health reporting activities?
  • Technical issues—What are the perceived technical barriers to incorporating work history information into the patient's electronic health record? What are the barriers to using current systems of coding industry and occupation? What are alternatives to current methods? How would the technical issues be best addressed by electronic health record system vendors and researchers?
  • Next steps—What steps are needed to advance this effort? What efforts by NIOSH in conjunction with government and non-governmental partners are needed?

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