Occ Health 101: Why a certified EHR is important in your clinic

Jun 2, 2020 11:00:00 AM — by Enterprise Health

The concept of a certified EHR in an occupational health IT solution is an important one, especially as more onsite employee health clinics expand operations beyond traditional medical surveillance, case management of worksite injury and illness and regulatory compliance.

As clinics increasingly provide primary care, urgent care, chronic disease management and health and wellness services, they need IT functionality beyond what traditional occ health solutions provide.

According to a 2018 study on worksite health clinics conducted by Mercer and the National Association of Worksite Health Centers, 33 percent of employers with 5000 or more employees had onsite clinics for general medical services — nearly double the 17 percent level in 2007. Employers’ goals in providing these services are to better manage overall health spend, reduce member health risk, reduce absenteeism/presenteeism, increase employee productivity and help employees better manage chronic conditions — all of which depend on having a more complete picture of an employee’s health.

An occ health solution built on an ONC-ACB certified EHR platform enables enterprises to satisfy this wider range of employee health needs. Certification indicates the EHR performs specific clinical care and data exchange functionalities. It also confirms that employee health records adhere to US regulatory requirements to protect the privacy of individuals’ health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA.)

Several years ago, the US Department of Health and Human Services started a program that offered financial incentives to promote wider adoption of health information technology. US physicians, hospitals and other providers were given payments with two strings attached — they had to implement a certified electronic health record and they had to comply with a set of meaningful use guidelines. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) oversees the EHR certification program and the Authorized Certification Bodies (ACBs) that perform rigorous testing and issue certifications, which must be renewed regularly. 

While occ health providers in and outside the US don’t need to comply with the meaningful use requirements and are not eligible for the incentives, using a certified EHR means they are using a thoroughly vetted solution that meets rigid criteria and is capable of meeting the wider range of employee health needs. 

As an example, one of the certification standards is interoperability which allows the secure exchange of data exchange in a standard format with other EHRs as well as other healthcare applications and systems such as medical devices, labs and registries. Enterprise Health does this and extends its interoperability capabilities to other applications such as HR systems and email applications, making data accessible, actionable and reportable. By increasing visibility into critical information, occ health physicians can make better decisions about an employee’s care or work status — something that has been especially important during the current public health situation.

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