Health Information Exchange Featured Article

August 21, 2012

Two Ohio Physician Practices Successfully Share Immunization Data Over EHRs

Two Ohio physician practices have successfully forwarded immunization data to the state health department from their electronic health records (EHR)  through HealthBridge and the Greater Dayton Area Health Information Network, both health information exchanges (HIE), according to a story by Mary Mosquera.

The Dayton exchange is a member of HealthBridge, which leads the Greater Cincinnati Beacon Collaboration, one of 17 health IT model communities funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

The 17 Beacon Communities were established to focus on specific and improvement goals that could be measured in quality, efficiency and population health to demonstrate the ability of health IT to transform local healthcare systems.

The Ohio Department of Health, keenly aware of the importance of vaccines, has put together a statewide immunization registry, ImpactSIIS, an interactive system that administers, delivers and tracks vaccinations in the state, Mosquera reported.

“The registry is then made available to medical providers to make certain that children and adults are fully vaccinated and that immunizations are not duplicated unnecessarily,” she wrote.

And it’s not just children who are at risk without vaccinations. More than 40,000 adults a year die from diseases they could avoid with a simple shot. And even though measles vaccines have been around for 50 years, 2011 “was the worst year in the U.S. for the measles in 15 years. And most children who got sick with the highly contagious disease, were not vaccinated,” according to Meg Farris.

Populations need to know this to plan accordingly and try to keep communities as safe as possible from these kinds of infectious diseases that could sadly be prevented with vaccination. 

The best way to share this information is through EHRs.

Most of the information-sharing in the Cincinnati and Dayton area has been among providers. Now, with the pilot program, HealthBridge and the Dayton exchanges can help providers connect to state agencies to meet various state and federal requirements, according to an Aug. 17 announcement by the exchanges, Mosquera said in her article.

While providers are increasingly adopting EHRs to replace paper records and improve care, “EHR systems also enable the exchange of health data electronically with government agencies, helping practices to be more efficient and accomplish multiple goals with the technologies they use,” according to David Groves, HealthBridge vice president, quoted by Mosquera.

The pilot was set up to “advance public health through the expanded use of health IT and capture an accurate picture of a child’s immunization status, said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, Ohio public health director,” Mosquera revealed in her story.

Edited by Braden Becker