November 4, 2021

NIOSH Releases Guide for Electronic Collection of Occupational Data for Health

NIOSH has published a new technical report titled “A Guide to the Collection of Occupational Data for Health: Tips for Health IT System Developers” (PDF). This document is primarily intended to help information technology (IT) professionals implement collection of Occupational Data for Health (ODH), a framework for self-reported, structured, and standardized patient work information, in electronic health records and other systems. According to the report, work information can be collected in healthcare settings for medical or personal health records for different reasons. The technical report describes ODH as “broadly applicable to healthcare as part of the medical record” as well as “suitable for many use cases supporting patient care, population health, and public health.”

The ODH framework is organized around seven topics: employment status, retirement dates, past and present jobs, longest held work, volunteer work, combat zone periods, and work performed by a minor for a family-run business. Within these topic areas, NIOSH’s report outlines tips for electronically collecting and organizing relevant data. According to the agency, this data may have applications for improving patient health outcomes after occupational illness or injury and supporting individuals’ return to work.

“If the demands of a patient’s job are known, a more successful return to work may be achieved,” the document explains. “Work-related illnesses are more likely identified when a person’s work information is known and cases can be reported to public health authorities, supporting interventions and the reduction of further exposures.”

For more information or to download a PDF of the technical report, visit NIOSH’s website.