Using EHR, HIE To Share Vaccine Data Improves Public Health

Jennifer Bresnick | EHR Intelligence | July 22, 2013

EHRs are an effective tool in the fight against infectious diseases, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia University School of Nursing.  Automated immunization reporting using EHR data helped speed the collection of vaccine data and allowed public health agencies to assemble a clearer picture of at-risk populations.  EHR reporting also reduced the amount of paperwork involved in immunization tracking and freed clinical staff to pursue other tasks.

Health officials recommend children and adults be vaccinated against 17 preventable diseases.  But tracking these immunizations can be difficult, especially among underserved populations, low-income patients, and children who may receive vaccines at multiple providers.  The study looked at 1.7 million records submitted to the NY Citywide Immunizations Registry between 2007 and 2011, which spanned both manual record transmissions and an automated reporting program.  The researchers found that submissions of new records increased by 18% after instituting automated reporting, and historical records of vaccines already received jumped by 98%.