By Warren Williams, branch chief, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; HIMSS IIP participant
We have reached a key milestone in helping clinicians access the information they need to support immunization of their patients. Five software developers representing more than a quarter of the electronic health record (EHR) market were recognized by HIMSS for their inclusion of immunization capabilities in their products, as part of the Immunization Integration Program.
More than four years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – through a contract with Chickasaw Nation Industries – brought experts and stakeholders together to identify software capabilities that would improve usability and support clinical workflows related to immunizations and also enhance information sharing between clinicians and immunization information systems or IIS (which are also known as immunization registries).
Those capabilities are now the cornerstone of a fully operational, independent, private sector software testing and recognition program – the HIMSS Immunization Integration Program. Just last October, we were pleased to see that the voluntary HIMSS Immunization Integration Program earned approval from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in the Department of Health and Human Services as an alternative testing method for the ONC Health IT Certification Program.
Over the last four years, the CDC has supported agreement among clinicians, software developers, and IIS on a core set of high priority, immunization-related software capabilities and the translation of these capabilities into a voluntary testing and recognition program now operated by HIMSS. We have also invested in the development of guidance for improving the usability of immunization-related software functions.
We believe that having immunization-related capabilities within EHRs and other clinical software will lead to better clinical decision-making, by providing more timely access to immunization histories and forecasts and improving information sharing between EHRs and IIS, thus resulting in more complete immunization records.
Our ultimate goal is that all clinicians and other immunization providers will have access to these important capabilities within their EHRs, to not only improve their workflow and ability to effectively communicate with immunization registries, but also to improve the care they deliver to their patients.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.
Updated July 24, 2018