By Thomas Leary MA, CAE, FHIMSS, Vice President, Government Relations and Joyce Sensmeier MS, RN-BC, FHIMSS, FAAN, Senior Advisor, HIMSS
Each year, two to three million lives are saved globally by vaccinations, according to the World Health Organization. As the current measles outbreak in Washington state highlights, with 35 confirmed cases in a single county, insufficient immunization can have dangerous consequences. Gathering and sharing accurate information on who has or has not been immunized and where the vaccine stockpiles may be located are important components of the public health strategy to overcome disease.
In our role as a global advisor, HIMSS supports the transformation of health through the application of information and technology. Today, the HIMSS Immunization Integration Program brings together organizations focused on a common goal of educating the healthcare community on the benefits of health IT in expanding awareness.
Introduced more than five years ago, the HIMSS Immunization Integration Program was developed to advance the integration of immunization-related capabilities within electronic health records (EHRs) and other clinical software. Integrating related software capabilities based on workflow and usability principles within EHRs and other clinical software can lead to improved clinical and patient decision-making by providing more timely access to data and supporting enhancing information sharing between EHRs and registries.
To further the goal, HIMSS and the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) are partnering to develop and launch an Immunization Collaborative to serve as a representative body to achieve consensus among key stakeholders on common issues and recommend solutions to improve interoperability. This effort closely aligns with AIRA’s focus on promoting and supporting the use of immunization information to ensure healthy communities.
The Collaborative will work to:
As the measles outbreak in Washington state demonstrates, we have a lot of work to do to increase provider and community preparedness for immunizations. The collaborative will identify challenges and define actionable solutions to improve workflow, interoperability, usability and data sharing between health IT systems, organizations and Immunization Information Systems that will ultimately improve patient care and outcomes, and bring greater value to providers.
The initial work products for the collaborative will be to:
AIRA and HIMSS are encouraging key stakeholders to participate in the Collaborative. Help us enable access to immunization histories more quickly and conveniently, improve the accuracy of information and ultimately improve the health of individuals. If you would like to lend your voice to advance integration and help us identify achievable goals to ensure success, please contact us at ImmunizationCollaborative@himss.org.
A collaborative effort supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Immunization Integration Program, or IIP, seeks to empower organizations to better facilitate the flow of immunization data and improve U.S. immunization rates—linked to better health outcomes, reduced healthcare costs and higher clinician productivity.