At the 2018 National Immunization Conference (NIC) held in Atlanta May 15-17, HLN co-presented Diverse Stakeholder Perspectives to Improve Oregon’s School Immunization Reporting Process in collaboration with the Oregon Immunization Program (OIP). Aaron Dunn, Oregon’s Immunization Program Manager, and Marcey Propp, HLN Project Manager, presented the project context, approach and outcomes as part of the segment for Improving measurement and reporting to foster clear vaccine communication. The project context included antiquated technology, the growing complexity of vaccine requirements, and excessive, redundant and unnecessary workload that culminated in making the current school immunization reporting process unsustainable. While OIP knew their own requirements, they identified the need for an external contractor to assess the needs and obstacles of key stakeholder groups, identify feasible options to the current process, and evaluate the alternatives based on state-defined criteria.
During the week of March 5 HLN participated along with other public health colleagues in the HIMSS18 Interoperability Showcase which features real-life demonstrations of health information interoperability. The Public Health Reporting use case included HLN’s Open Source Reportable Conditions Knowledge Management System (RCKMS) which is being deployed nationally in conjunction with CDC,the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). RCKMS provides the clinical decision support component for electronic case reporting, allowing an EHR system to send clinical information to a centralized web service and receive a response indicating whether the patient’s clinical data needs to be reported to public health, and if so to which agencies and through what mechanism.
HLN is a Gold Corporate Member of HIMSS.
HLN organized and participated in a national webinar titled CDS for Immunizations (CDSi): A Community and Standards-based Approach on January 18, 2018. Speakers included:
- Dr. Noam Arzt, President of HLN, who spoke about the business case for clinical decision support for immunizations, and about HLN’s Open Source ICE vaccine evaluation and forecasting product
- Stuart Myerburg from CDC who spoke about the CDC CDSi project
- Angel Aponte from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene who spoke about real-work implementations in the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR)
Over 50 individuals participated in the webinar which was sponsored by the Patient-Centered Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Learning Network (PCORCDS).
On November 14-15, 2017, Mike Berry from HLN, with the Rhode Island Department of Health, attended the CDC Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Grantee Meeting in Atlanta. The meeting featured EHDI programs from
states and territories across the U.S., along with national experts in areas of hearing screening and diagnostic audiology as well as epidemiology, public health informatics, health outcomes and program evaluation.
Much of the meeting focused on the purpose and strategies of the current cooperative agreement between CDC and state EHDI programs. Similar to the Immunization Information System (IIS) Functional Standards in our IIS work, EHDI has its own set of EHDI Information System (EHDI-IS) Functional Standards; and the cooperative agreement is assisting grantees to meet those standards, as well as to evaluate their progress towards those and other program goals. There were also technical sessions on data linkage, tracking and surveillance; and group activities in which states shared their strategies on topics such as data exchange, stakeholder outreach, and program evaluation. Rhode Island is unique in that its EHDI-IS is part of KIDSNET, the state’s integrated child health information system; and at the meeting, we shared our recent experience deploying EHDI reports in KIDSNET to a wide variety of EHDI-related providers; as well as our current initiative to establish data exchange with audiologists’ Electronic Health Record Systems (EHR-S) for diagnostic audiology encounters.
In September 2017 GAO released a new report, Public Health Information Technology: HHS Has Made Little Progress toward Implementing Enhanced Situational Awareness Network Capabilities. In particular, GAO pointed out lapses in completing Congressionally-mandated requirements for this area including the definition of minimal data elements required and collaboration with state, local, and tribal public health officials on the development of standards and procedures to ensure proper data collection. In addition, the GAO chided HHS for not following its own information technology project management methodology in the planning and execution of this project.
Situational awareness has been a conspicuous topic ever since the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax scare that followed shortly thereafter. But since the initial flurry of public health preparedness funds in the ensuing several years this topic has not had a high priority at CDC nor the funding necessary to implement it successfully. Perhaps this report will serve as a catalyst for the new administration to provide the funding and leadership to fulfill Congress’ intentions in this area.