Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

IOM Recommends Social Factors to Include in EHRs

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

IOM Recommends Social Factors to Include in EHRs

Article excerpt

Electronic health records should be equipped to record and track 12 social and behavioral determinants of health, an Institute of Medicine committee recommends.

In addition to measures that are routinely collected now--race/ ethnicity, tobacco use, alcohol use, and residential address--the committee advocated that electronic heath records (EHRs) should be able to capture:

* Educational attainment.

* Financial resource strain.

* Stress.

* Depression.

* Physical activity.

* Social isolation.

* Intimate partner violence (for women of reproductive age).

* Neighborhood median household income.

These measures can "provide crucial information about factors that influence health and the effectiveness of treatment," collect data for researchers and policy makers, and help inform innovations that might improve health outcomes or reduce costs, according to the recent report.

The panel aimed for what it called a "parsimonious panel of measures," to help reduce the data collection burden for patients and health care providers, committee cochair Dr. William W. Stead, McKesson Foundation Professor of Biomedical Informatics and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., said during a press briefing.

The IOM report will be used by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to determine what it should require from certified EHRs and from physicians who are participating in Medicare's meaningful use incentive payment program.

Physicians will be required to document social and behavioral determinants under Stage 3 of meaningful use, which begins in 2017.

Dr. Stead said the speed of inclusion of the social and behavioral determinants in EHRs partly will be determined by whether the ONC follows the panel's recommendations and requires them as part of meaningful use. …

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