Even with all the high-tech tests, therapies and procedures available in today's modern healthcare setting, family health history still has the potential to be one of the most powerful tools for promoting health. Family health history information is also critical for the appropriate interpretation of genetic and genomic test results. The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs [cms.gov], have taken a major step towards ensuring that electronic health records will be able to collect and use family history information.
On March 7, CMS posted 'notices of proposed rulemaking' for provisions that propose to pay for the collection of structured family health history information in electronic health records as of 2014. Institutions that can prove they meet certain criteria through the adoption and use of electronic health record systems would receive increased reimbursement. For the next 60 days, the public may submit comments on the proposed Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria. 'Meaningful Use' is one of the mechanisms through which the U.S. federal government incentivizes the adoption and use of electronic health records.
"We believe that the realization of genomic medicine hinges on the ability of healthcare practitioners to capture and interpret genomic information in electronic health records," said Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). "Family health history information is foundational for both clinical and research purposes."
Last Updated: February 6, 2014