A federal health institute is weighing the benefits of including patients' occupation information in their electronic health records.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seeks input on the matter from primary-care providers, occupational and public-health specialists and EHR vendors over the next two months. In a request for information (PDF) slated to be published in Thursday's Federal Register, the institute notes that clinical collection of patients' work information—including their work status, their current industry and title, and the industry in which they've worked the longest—isn't widespread. Moreover, even when that data is included in an EHR, it isn't necessarily standardized and coded, according to the NIOSH.
Primary-care providers are asked in the request to answer a series of questions about whether and how they collect occupation information for use in EHRs. Vendors are asked to answer whether systems offer fields in which to enter occupation information and whether entered values are coded.