The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has sent a letter recommending that officials require electronic health records to include occupational health data as part of the Stage 3 requirements for the meaningful use program, Government Health IT reports.
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.Details of the Letter
In the letter to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, Karl Auerbach — a physician and ACOEM president — wrote that an individual’s job can affect his or her health, and an individual’s health can affect his or her ability to work safely and productively.
The letter recommended that:Certified EHRs have functionalities allowing health care providers to document and share data on a patient’s work ability or restrictions; and For future meaningful use criteria, ONC consider use cases for recording additional data about a clinician’s reason for suggesting specific work restrictions or activity guidelines (Brino, Government Health IT, 1/23).
The letter stated that EHRs that include information about a worker’s job duties and hazards “can be invaluable to all physicians in order to recognize and treat work-related conditions and to prevent injury and illness in other workers” (Rowe, PhysBizTech, 1/21).Rhode Island Quality Institute’s Comments
In related news, the Rhode Island Quality Institute has advocated for accelerating Stage 3 standards.
According to RIQI, Stage 1 and 2 meaningful use requirements respected the time and effort needed to implement EHR systems.
Jonathan Leviss, RIQI’s chief medical officer, said, “With Stage 3 … the time is right for a process that will more directly yield the promised benefits of health IT.”
According to Leviss, “RIQI believes that creating value from EHRs requires a critical mass of function, market requirement and adoption.” He added, “The more rapidly [ONC] and CMS can accelerate these elements, the sooner the U.S. will benefit from health information technology — and the greater that benefit will be” (Clinical Innovation & Technology, 1/23).