CDC releases new guide for collecting body mass index measurements

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) recently released two new resources for health care providers called the “HL7 Height and Weight Report Implementation Guide” and the “IHE Quality, Research and Public Health Technical Framework Supplement for Healthy Weight.” The tools are designed to help practitioners transmit body mass index (BMI) data from electronic health record systems (EHRs) to public health surveillance systems so it can be used to assess progress in the fight against the childhood obesity epidemic.

Currently the process of capturing and communicating BMI data from provider offices to state health departments is largely inefficient and insufficient as it often requires the provider to enter data into more than one system or requires the development of custom databases. These limitations make it very difficult for agencies, communities, and states to evaluate progress in their childhood obesity prevention efforts.

DNPAO developed the healthy weight standards to help health care providers collect and transfer their BMI clinical data from EHRs to public health agencies where it can then be used as surveillance data to help inform and prioritize obesity prevention efforts in states and communities across the country. This project, which included oversight from National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity member Heidi Blanck, has established standards as a first step toward collecting quality data that can be transmitted from the medical setting to state public health agencies across the United States.

The Healthy Weight (HW) Integrating Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) use case can be viewed here.

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