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To help ensure that patients are properly vaccinated, UPMC has created one of the first systems in the state to not only provide real-time, electronic reporting to Pennsylvania’s immunizations registry but to also allow UPMC’s clinicians to view the state’s vaccine data for each patient.

Frank Caniglia, chief of the Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System (PA-SIIS), noted that UPMC is one of only two health systems—and by far the largest–now providing immunization data electronically to the state while also seamlessly integrating statewide immunization data into its own patient records. “What needs to be showcased is that this is a doable project, even for a large and complex system like UPMC. The impact is not just on the monitoring of public health but on patient safety, health care efficiency and costs,” said Mr. Caniglia.

Reporting of immunizations through PA-SIIS is voluntary for health care providers. In 2001, the state created a Web-based application that allows providers to enter their immunization data directly, rather than sending paper files.

In creating its automated, real-time feed to PA-SIIS, UPMC added more robust information than was required. In addition to a patient’s name, the type of vaccine and the date the vaccine was administered, UPMC hospitals and physicians’ offices provide the manufacturer and lot number of vaccinations and the name of the patient’s physicians. This information can help to quickly locate patients affected by vaccine recalls. UPMC provides about 10,000 immunizations each week to patients of all ages.

“The Pennsylvania immunization registry is the single source of truth for vaccination information, and a critical part of preventing the spread of diseases and premature deaths.  The integration we created from our health system to the state supports our entire patient population with no burden on the clinician to manually enter data,” said Lisa Khorey, vice president of enterprise systems and data management at UPMC.

UPMC’s technology team, working with IBM and its systems integration partner Summa, created a computer interface that allows clinicians to match information from PA-SIIS to any individual patient and to include that data when viewing a patient’s electronic health record at UPMC. The system uses IBM Initiate Patient software to link patient identity data from numerous sources. Inpatient, outpatient and state data are provided to caregivers in a single application. Thus, physicians and nurses are able to see immunizations that might have been given outside of UPMC’s own network of doctors and hospitals, including those provided by pharmacy-based clinics or employee health departments.

“This nearly two-year effort by UPMC’s technology team, in collaboration with dedicated state employees, will help UPMC to meet complex federal requirements to show ‘meaningful use’ of electronic health records using data exchange,” noted Ms. Khorey. “More importantly, participating in the state registry supports public health while providing coordinated care for our patients.”

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