MCN strongly supports including work information, namely industry and occupation, in electronic health records (EHRs). Information related to the patient’s occupation is important in the recognition and management of injuries, illnesses and exposures, and should be included as part of the certification criteria under the proposed Stage 3 recommendations for Meaningful Use of EHRs.
This is particularly relevant to workers in high-risk work environments such as migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and for the mobile poor, who often lack occupational health programs in the workplace. We believe having access to information related to patients’ occupation in the EHR would further assist clinicians in their effort to incorporate relevant work-related issues into the overall management of patient care.
MCN submitted public comment (available here) in support of the inclusion of occupation in EHRs to the the Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC) - a federal advisory committee to the office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. We encourage you or your organization to adapt and use our comments for submission to HITPC. (A downloadable draft is available here)
The deadline for public comment is Monday, January 14.
At present there would be no requirement for data entry or use. We strongly anticipate that these data fields will be important in the future and will be demonstrated to have meaningful use, making an important difference in individual and population health, and in strengthening public health activities such as monitoring work-related health problems.