Social Work and Electronic Health Records: A New Frontier for Health Workforce Research

Authors: Lisa de Saxe Zerden, PhD, MSW | Erica Richman, PhD, MSW | Brianna Lombardi, PhD, MSW | Kim Shoenbill, MD, PhD | Erin Fraher, PhD, MPP

Topics: Behavioral Health, Data Analysis

Research Center: Carolina Health Workforce Research Center

February 27, 2020

As one of the largest groups of clinically trained mental health providers in the United States, social workers are increasingly deployed on integrated health teams to address patients’ social determinants of health and provide behavioral health interventions. However, information about the specific content of social work practice in new models of healthcare is limited, and further exploration is needed to better define social worker roles and functions in integrated settings.

This research brief demonstrates how electronic health records data can be used as a workforce research tool to assess the scope, contributions, and value of social work, a profession still in the process of establishing its return on investment in health care.

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