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Electronic Immunization Registry Discussion Recap

By Tara Newton, communications associate, BID Initiative

Oct 17, 2014

Posted in , ,

The Better Immunization Data (BID) Initiative created a Google Group to allow BID Learning Network (BLN) participants and those interested in the initiative to voice their ideas, perspectives and feedback as we identify shared problems and solutions. Recently, our Global Director Liz Peloso, kicked off a conversation about electronic immunization registries, citing an example of how Albania has successfully implemented this technology. The BID Initiative will also host a webinar on this topic on the 28th of October. You can learn more about this event and register here.

The group discussed the difference between a birth registry with an immunization registry which led to the advantages and disadvantages of a comprehensive health record. Interestingly, the differences between a birth and an immunization registry shared with the group included:

  • The full name of the child may not be determined at the time of birth when immunizations are given.
  • For border populations that cross into other countries for immunizations, it would not be appropriate to add them to that country’s birth registry (this is highly relevant for refugees).
  • A birth registry only records the date and location of birth (a single event) whereas an immunization registry will follow a child and track their location (multiple events).
  • A birth registry is a legal system and requires proof of identity whereas an immunization registry has fewer requirements.

The conversation continued citing that ideally, both registries would be synched to assist in identifying children without birth registries and vice versa, thus finding defaulters. Interoperability of the shared registries will be key for creating a child’s overall health story and is currently being discussed as an open source eHealth infrastructure project on OpenHIE.

Ultimately, the BID Initiative is designed to enable governments at the country-level to be fully informed consumers and make strategic decisions in determining how the child registries are architected to better serve future implementations, whether that includes integrated registries, shared health records or not. Furthermore, the group put an emphasis on leveraging lessons learned from previous Information and Communication Technology (ICT) implementations, specifically from the Ministry of Finance and Economics — for example, the banking sector. We know that 70 percent of ICT implementations fail so the BID Initiative is ensuring we clearly define what we hope to achieve with our interventions and how we are going to measure success. The initiative’s success will also be dependent on:

  • Planning accordingly with key decision makers.
  • Identifying champions at each level.
  • Setting cost expectations of implementation and customization, support and maintaining capacity.

We also need to consider the cultivation of a “data-use culture.” Facilities with inadequate resources in rural areas and health workers with poor data skills, may struggle or resist electronic immunization registry interventions. Feedback from Albania’s implementation of electronic immunization registries from the perspective of the health worker will be important to consider when developing a design solution with the end-user in mind that not only fosters ease-of-use, but long-term sustainability.

We encourage you to continue the discussion and view the full content of the Electronic Immunization Registry topic, join our Google Group, or share your opinions in the comments below.

For more information on the Albania implementation, view the following video: Albania Pilots Immunization Information System (IIS).

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