EHR Systems to include Occupation Data for Improved Decision Making

Recently, several physicians demonstrated the advantages of adding occupation data to EHR systems and said that it could help in better decision making. Adding a patient’s occupation and workplace into the electronic health record systems can make the providers at community health centers offer better facilities. This is because gathering such information enables the providers to get more information about the social and environmental factors that play a vital role in influencing the health condition of the patients.

As stated in a blog post by Kerry Souza, ScD, MPH and Michael A. Wittie, MPH, “Community health centers across the country are also using web based EHR software to capture and use patient work information to learn more about their patients’ work and health. The recording industry and occupation data in EHRs not only allow providers access to this important information on patients, but it can also enable clinical decision support functions to assist providers in caring for patients based on each individual’s work history.”

The Cambridge Health Alliance and Massachusetts Department of Public had jointly conducted a project to help the medical providers to collect the patient’s occupational data. The information of almost twenty seven thousand primary care patients were taken in this pilot project and it was successful in implementing the same with the EHR systems. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Heath has been working along with the St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los Angeles. The main purpose is to modify the documentation process related to EHR data that also includes work information of the patients.

In fact, more than ninety-five percent of the community healthcare centers already have advanced facilities that enable recent data shows in the digitized health records of the patients. Also, around eighty-five percent of these organizations have received meaningful use payments, which make them much more advanced in the healthcare sector. The benefit of collecting occupational data is that these healthcare centers would be able to provide situation-specific clinical decision support tools for EHR that help in the improvement of population health management techniques as well as in the extension of primary care.

Wittie and Souza also stated that, “Data capture would be the first step to allow health-care organizations to develop programs aimed at meeting the occupational health needs of their patients, harnessing the power of EHRs for capturing, storing, tracking, exchanging, and reporting data.”

The recent advancements in the field of maintaining digitized healthcare data of the patients have thus already helped the providers to improve the overall patient care in healthcare organizations.