Another piece of the electronic health record puzzle is now in place, at least for parents in Indiana. MyVaxIndiana lets Hoosiers download a copy of vaccination records.
The process is fairly straightforward. A parent first requests a PIN number from a pediatrician or the county health department. That number allows the parent or individual to make a request of the Children and Hoosier’s Immunization Registry Program system. If all goes well, the system returns a PDF version of the child’s vaccine record.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology sent Deputy National Coordinator for Policy and Programs Judy Murphy to the rollout event last month and praised the new site in a blog post last week:
The concept for this innovative approach and aggressive timeline was established during the State HIE Consumer Innovation Challenge meeting in Chicago, when representatives from Indiana’s state-designated entity for enabling statewide health information exchange, Indiana Health Information Technology Inc, and the Children and Hoosiers Immunization Registry Program, came together to create a plan of action. Within months, Indiana had introduced a live pilot program that included local health departments, hospitals, private medical facilities, and a public primary school.
The ONC is using the Indiana program as an example for more states to follow as part of its Individual Access to Immunization Registries Initiative. ONC is working with state-level stakeholders to give more people access to their immunization records. (Their next project should be state-level campaigns to promote all the research that shows vaccines are safe.)
State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin said that very few states have made vaccination records available to parents or guardians.
“We had in-house expertise entirely to develop the site and we did all the work within about a three and a half month window,” Larkin said.
An app and integration with personal health records are planned for Vax 2.0.
“We are working on a smart phone application and working with personal health infomation organizations like NoMoreClipboard so patients can directly download the vaccine information into their own electronic records.”
Does it work?
Conveniently, I live in Indiana and have two little kids, so I could put the system to the test. The site is less than a month old at this point, so I was prepared for a few bumps.
I checked the list of CHIRP providers, saw that my pediatrician was on it (not private physicians all are), and called to get my PIN number. Although I love the doctors and nurses at this practice, they are not the most wired office.
The nurse’s first reply was, “You don’t have access to CHIRP.” Then she checked around for a PIN and admitted she didn’t have one to give me.
I tried the county health department next and the nurse there was very helpful. Her Internet connection was down when I called, but she did call me back when she was able to access the information.
I needed one PIN number for each kid; one worked and the other didn’t. The PDF looked just like my outdated paper copy, but at least I didn’t have to scan it in.
The best part of the system is that I can get another copy if I lose track of this one, which is much better than making a trip to the health department or the doctor’s office.
Now I just need to call the health department back to get the right PIN number for my youngest son.