22676 Benefits and Challenges of Integrating Information Technology for Improving Immunization Rates and the Quality of Immunization Delivery and Reporting

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Grand Hall
Linda Fu, MD, MS , Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Children's National Medical Center
Mark Weissman, MD , Chief, Division of Community Pediatric Health, Children's National Medical Center
Cherie Thomas, RN, BSN , Senior IIS Analyst, District of Columbia Department of Health

Background: Health information technology (HIT) has transformed immunization quality improvement efforts in terms of vaccination delivery, communication and reporting. The last five years has seen increasingly widespread adoption among community providers, hospitals and public health agencies of various HIT enhancements such as electronic medical records’ provider reminder systems, electronic transmission of vaccination administration records to immunization information systems, autodialer patient reminder/recall systems, and electronic transfer of state vital records (birth certificates) to document hepatitis B vaccines administered at birth hospitals. Nevertheless, there are often significant hurdles to overcome before new HIT systems become fully operational and integrated into existing systems’ work flow. When initially implemented, HIT may temporarily reduce immunization delivery efficiency and/or reporting quality as vaccinators learn to use the systems.

Setting: Community birth hospitals, department of health immunization programs, healthcare practices and clinics

Population: Healthcare workers and public health professionals who are integrating HIT into their immunization delivery and/or reporting workflow.

Project Description: Community vaccination providers will be provided with a brief didactic presentation of novel ways to integrate HIT into their vaccination delivery and/or reporting. This will include a discussion of the potential benefits and challenges to integrating various systems. Those who have recently added or are contemplating the addition of HIT into their vaccination quality improvement efforts will be asked to share their experiences. The interactive session will allow participants to brainstorm potential solutions together.

Results/Lessons Learned: To ensure that two different HIT systems transfer information as seamlessly as possible, extensive planning, testing and regular communication between expert programmers in each system is essential prior to “go-live.” Adequate training of end-users is critical so that the technology is implemented fully and accurately. End-users must also be aware of the system’s limitations so that incorrect assumptions are not made.

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