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Integrating a Vaccine Scheduling System with EHR

September 23, 2021 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team

As countries are trying to vaccinate a majority of their population against COVID-19, many people are thinking about vaccination and wondering - when to get vaccinated, where to get vaccinated and how to get vaccinated.

Today, there is a huge opportunity for digital health solutions and partners to support the rollout not only of the COVID-19 vaccinations but also of all the other vaccinations that help keep our population healthy.

Nations and states want to know how much of their population have been vaccinated against Covid-19 so they can make important public health decisions. To that end, states, districts, and cities created vaccine registries to help track their population's immunization status.

Historically, vaccination campaigns have been targeted at children (well, their parents) to prevent disease as early as possible, which has been very successful. With the seasonal flu shot and other newer vaccinations, like the COVID-19 vaccine, there is a general shift in thinking from "vaccines are for kids" to "vaccines are for everyone." This shift in thinking also affects vaccine tracking, as individuals move from one state to another and need to have their vaccination histories updated for each registry and accessible by their healthcare provider.

Now let's talk about how that vaccination information can be integrated into EHR.

Vaccine Scheduling System with EHR

The presence of EHR use and the resulting ability to have vaccination data in electronic form provides an important foundation for delivering information technology (IT) based vaccine interventions. The capture of vaccine data in electronic form is also supported by a growing number of immunization information systems (IIS) or immunization registries. This widespread use of technology provides an ideal platform to help in the delivery of vaccines, one of the most important public health interventions.

By using EHR for vaccination, organizations have more information about the patient when they're vaccinating their patients, rather than some of the traditional super sites that do not have access to patient data. With EHRs, states participate in health information exchanges and there is more information available to our physicians when they're vaccinating their patients.

As states begin to vaccinate their people, EHR companies are working with healthcare organizations to determine what steps would be needed for preparation, looking to our Immunization Registry and patient registries as solutions for tracking and reporting on vaccine administration. EHR vendors are now focusing on integrating Vaccine Scheduling Systems into the EHR. Following are the things the vendors working on:

  • How to equip the EHR to be able to report any adverse outcomes from vaccine administration, if needed.
  • How to equip the EHR to be able to do electronic case reporting of COVID-19 and ultimately immunizations, a kind of alternate reporting mechanism.
  • How to equip the EHR to be able to document vaccine administration (with new CPT/CVX codes, inventory control, VIS sheet, etc.) for large numbers of people, both in the context where the patients are current patients and where they may not be.
  • How to equip the EHR to be able to report to appropriate agencies the vaccines that the practice administers, for example, a state immunization registry.

How does Vaccination Data Flow work?

A vaccination appointment is a standard outpatient-style appointment.

  • The patient is scheduled either within the EHR or outside of the EHR.
  • Patient arrives.
  • The patient's vaccination history is queried and retrieved from a registry.
  • The vaccine is administered and then sent to the registry.

EHR support for Vaccine Scheduling

Here are some ways EHR supports Vaccine Scheduling:

  • Automatic Scheduling of follow-up Appointments

    The patient is reminded through messaging to come back for their second dose at the right time based on which manufacturer's vaccine they received.

  • Decision Support Tools

    New reminders ensure that patients receive the correct vaccine when they return for a second dose.

  • Additional support for Mobile Workflows in Mass Vaccination settings

    New reminders ensure that patients receive the correct vaccine when they return for a second dose.

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Analytics

    A specific metric to help healthcare organizations keep track of things like how many people have been vaccinated and who still need to come in.

  • Vaccination Status through Charts

    Patients can complete pre-and post-vaccination questionnaires and share their immunization status with their healthcare providers, employers, schools, and others.

  • Vaccine Prioritization

    Health organizations can identify priority patient populations for vaccination based on criteria such as age, risk factors, and occupation.

  • Coordination of Immunization across Healthcare Organizations

    Using standards-based interoperability, Hospitals can share vaccine administration data with other healthcare organizations. For instance, patients may receive their first and second vaccine doses in different locations.

Understanding a patient's history and their vaccination status is of course significant for immunizations, but it's also important when considering a more holistic, longitudinal view of patient health.

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