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The Need for Industry and Occupation Standards in Hospital Discharge Data

Taylor, Jennifer A. PhD, MPH,; Frey, Leslie T. JD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 5 - p 495–499
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318293af12
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Occupational injuries and illnesses affect the productivity of the US workforce, yet public health surveillance in the United States does not adequately track and report these incidents. Adding industry and occupation standards to US hospital data collection would enable physicians, researchers, and payors to accurately account for occupational injuries and illnesses as well as support prevention initiatives. The authors petitioned for the inclusion of standards for industry and occupation within hospital data; however, additional support from the occupational and environmental health community is needed to move the petition to adoption. This article discusses the policy implications and benefits to occupational medicine and public health provided by collecting industry and occupation in hospital discharge data, as well as the process of initiating a data change request with the National Uniform Billing Committee.

From the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, Penn.

Address correspondence to: Jennifer A. Taylor, PhD, MPH, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, 1505 Race St, MS 1034, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (

This research was supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) FY 2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, Fire Prevention and Safety Grants (Research & Development). Grant No. EMW-2009-FP-00427.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine