Electronic Health Records help tackle vaccine-preventable diseases, study shows

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Using an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system could help tackle vaccine-preventable diseases by speeding the collection of immunization data and improving vaccine data sharing, researchers at Columbia University School of Nursing have found.

In the US, tracking vaccinations has been difficult in cases where patients are treated by multiple providers and patient records are scattered. Immunization registries should help consolidate this information, but these have been reporting slow and incomplete data submission by health providers – leading to incomplete health records and unnecessary vaccinations. Automated reports via EHRs can tackle this problem by providing officials and health providers with readily available immunization histories.

In the latest research, published in Applied Clinical Informatics, a team of researchers analysed 1.7 million records submitted to the NY Citywide Immunizations Registry both before and after the implementation of EHR automated reporting. The launch of automated reporting led to significant improvements in the use of the registry and the efficiency of reporting. The structured, more timely record-sharing enabled physicians to assist individual patients faster, and also provided more immediate data to health agencies with an interest in public health.

"The efficiency offered by automation has significant implications for managing public health, whether it is by informing a local physician on the health of an individual or informing policymakers on health trends within a whole community," said lead researcher and CU Nursing professor Jacqueline Merrill, RN, MPH, DNSc.

Read more from Columbia Nursing >

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