Addressing Evolving Health Information Technology Needs in Pediatric Care: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Informational Resource (IR)

LaVerne Perlie and Ella Von Canon | November 15, 2022

Hot off the presses, the Pediatric Health Information Technology: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Informational Resource (NAS IR) [PDF – 808 KB] is a new resource from ONC to support pediatric care and practice settings specific to neonatal abstinence syndrome. The NAS IR builds upon prior efforts included in the ONC Pediatric Health Information Technology Informational Resources (IR) for health IT developers and for health care providers, and includes information about the implementation of health IT and its use as part of delivering health care to infants experiencing withdrawal after maternal exposure to opioids and other substances during pregnancy. This is the third pediatric focused IR as part of a broader ONC effort to advance interoperable health IT across the care continuum.

According to a relatively recent article published by experts in the pediatrics community, the opioid crisis in the United States now affects an increased number of pregnant women and infants. HHS has prioritized responding to the ongoing opioid epidemic and taken note that improvements associated with health IT can make a difference.

The NAS IR can benefit providers using health IT by improving the following:

  • Screening and assessment of infant potential health concerns associated with maternal opioid exposure,
  • Collection and exchange of maternal social determinants of health (SDOH) data, resulting in improved care coordination for NAS infants,
  • Referrals for maternal medication-assisted treatment for opioid use, and
  • Identification of maternal health equity concerns which impact the health outcomes of infants with NAS.

ONC, via an interagency agreement with CMS, developed the NAS IR in response to the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to improve care for infants with NAS. A diverse panel of clinical and informatics experts identified seven clinical priorities consistent with earlier Pediatric IR recommendations as well as the following five new clinical priorities for providers treating NAS:

  1. Implementation of a NAS Scoring and Assessment Tool
  2. Support Standard Data Documentation in Discharge Summary
  3. Document Social Determinants of Health
  4. Associate Maternal Health Information and Demographics with Newborn
  5. Document Lactation Support and Feeding Discussions

The NAS IR’s priorities are what providers and technical experts consider to be the most important health IT areas to focus on in support of better care for infants with NAS. The growing prevalence of NAS infants means there is a need for improved health IT in this area.

Learn more about ONC activities to support health IT for the pediatric care continuum.