The implementation of bidirectional information sharing between electronic health records (EHRs) and immunization registries resulted in improved pediatric immunization coverage, according to new research in Pediatrics.

Researchers analyzed data from five practices providing pediatric primary care in the New York–Presbyterian Hospital Ambulatory Care Network 6 months before and after a 2009 implementation of a function that allowed for data from the N.Y. Citywide Immunization Registry to be downloaded directly to local practice site EHRs. Prior to that, data could only be uploaded from EHRs, and pediatricians would need to consult the registry separately to check immunization records.

Researchers found that after the implementation of bidirectional information sharing, “significant improvements in pediatric immunization coverage, a reduction in overimmunization for adolescents, and increased completeness of immunization records were observed,” Dr. Melissa S. Stockwell , professor at Columbia University, New York, and her colleagues, wrote in an article appearing online May 5 and scheduled for publication in the June 6 issue of Pediatrics ( doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-4335 ).

According to the research, up-to-date status increased from 75% before to 81.6% after implementation for more than 6,000 children during each period. The percentage of overimmunized decreased from 8.8% to 4.7%.

Researchers suggested that the reason for the improvement was that doctors could make more informed decisions immediately about immunization rather than having to wait for family members to return for a later visit with paper immunization records.

“With full immunization data available electronically at point of care, clinicians may have felt more certain that they had accurate, complete immunization data and that the child was indeed missing the immunization,” Dr. Stockwell and her colleagues wrote. “It has been shown that children of parents who lack paper records are more likely to be underimmunized.”

The researchers reported no conflicts of interest. The study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


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