Officials at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are seeking to gauge public opinion on how employment data should be gathered, stored and used in medical informatics systems, reports Fierce Health IT.
The decision to seek input from the public follows the publication of a 2011 report that identified gaps in the level of patient employment information currently captured in electronic health records (EHRs).
The study revealed that data on work status and employment area is not currently recorded for a majority of patients in the U.S., and what little information is recorded is incomplete and lacking in standardization. This lack of centralized employment data could negatively affect clinical decision making and monitoring of potential threats to public health.
“NIOSH is working to ensure that EHRs will contribute to improvements in individual and population health by meeting the need to support occupational considerations during clinical care and by enhancing public health professional’s understanding of work-related conditions so they can identify effective treatment and prevention strategies,” read a statement from NIOSH, as quoted by the news source.
Medical informatics vendors have also been invited to submit comments on how employment data should be captured and used in EHRs. Healthcare providers using clinical informatics technology will be asked about how data on patients’ work has been recorded, where such data is stored and how it is used to improve the standard of patient care.
According to NIOSH’s official website, the organization is dedicated to improving workplace and employee safety and health through awareness campaigns, scientific research and legislative action. NIOSH was formed following the introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and works closely with other federal bodies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor.