IOM Panel Recommends Social, Behavioral Data To Include in EHRs

April 9, 2014 in News

Health care providers’ ability to provide effective care would benefit from the inclusion of social and behavioral factors in electronic health records, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine, Health Data Management reports. 

Report Details

The report is the first part of a two-phase study — conducted by a 13-member IOM committee — that aims “to inform and aid the [Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT] and CMS in finalizing domains for meaningful use Stage 3″ (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 4/8).

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

The study was commissioned by:

  • CDC;
  • CMS;
  • NIH;
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and
  • Other organizations (AHA News Now, 4/8).

Report Findings

IOM developed six criteria to help decide what social and behavioral information should be included in EHRs. Those criteria are:

  • Sufficient evidence that the information is related to health;
  • Usefulness of the information for the individual, research and the overall population;
  • Sensitivity of the information;
  • Whether the data are available through alternate sources;
  • Whether the information can be standardized and presented in a valid, reliable manner; and
  • Whether patients can feasibly provide and physicians can feasibly collect the information.

In the initial report, the IOM committee used two of the criteria — the strength of evidence and the information’s usefulness — to identify 17 domains that would be most beneficial to include in EHRs. Some of the domains are:

  • Behavioral information, such as tobacco use or physical activity levels;
  • Information on patients’ communities and neighborhoods;
  • Psychological status;
  • Social relationships; and
  • Sociodemographic information.

According to Modern Healthcare, IOM’s report on the second phase of the study will use all six criteria to develop a full list of recommended domains (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 4/8).

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