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May 19 -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on a proposed information collection project titled National Electronic Health Records Survey (NEHRS). NEHRS will collect information about the use of electronic health records (EHRs) systems, documentation of social determinants of health or social needs, interoperability, exchange of patient health information with public health agencies, and use of telemedicine technology among office-based and outpatient physicians in the United States. CDC must receive written comments on or before July 18, 2023.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) requests a Reinstatement with a Change for a three-year clearance to the National Electronic Health Records Survey (NEHRS). NCHS is requesting approval to collect data for 2024, 2025, and 2026 NEHRS cohorts. NEHRS is a national survey of office-based physicians conducted by NCHS, and sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Although there are other surveys that collect information from United States office-based physicians, NEHRS is unique in that it provides nationally representative information about the use of electronic health records (EHR) and other health information technologies. Additional justifications for conducting future rounds of NEHRS include the need for more complete data to study: (1) documentation of social needs; (2) trends in interoperability; (3) the exchange of patient health information with public health agencies; and (4) the use of telemedicine technology. The new data collections will reestablish trends of patient health information exchange with public health agencies, telemedicine technology use, as well as the evolving engagement in interoperability; particularly with respect to electronically sending, receiving, integrating, and searching for patient health information through these systems. Improving interoperability of electronic health information is a major priority for ONC, and NEHRS provides ONC with data on physicians' experience with interoperability.
 
Data from NEHRS can be used to produce state and national estimates of EHR adoption and capabilities, burden associated with EHRs, and progress physicians have made towards meeting the policy goals of the HITECH Act. In more recent years, survey questions have also asked about Promoting Interoperability programs, sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Using NEHRS data, NCHS publishes reports and summary web tables to describe the general frequencies of EHR adoption.  

NEHRS: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nehrs/about.htm
Draft survey instrument and supporting statement available at https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/75j86xpducbfig0vxppuj/h?rlkey=k9hfyghv2q1d3zd551dlic03z&dl=0
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-10748

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