By Tom Fitzgerald, MPH; Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Response Fellow, CDC/NCIRD/ISD
For many health departments, data collection during mass vaccination clinics conducted in response to a pandemic or outbreak is often done manually. This can be time-consuming and labor intensive, but it is an extremely important component of pandemic vaccine response, particularly if there are multiple vaccine products, a need for multiple vaccine doses with adjuvant in each dose, and/or a need to match vaccine and adjuvant type between doses. Simplifying the process of information entry into systems, such as an electronic health record (EHR) system or Immunization Information System (IIS), may aid local health departments in preparing for the next pandemic. Currently, health departments use a variety of methods and technologies to collect patient and vaccine information during routine vaccination clinics and during mass vaccination clinics and/or points of dispensing (PODs) conducted during influenza pandemics and other public health emergencies, though no catalog of these tools and technologies previously existed.
Identifying Tools and Technologies for Health Departments
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Immunization Services Division worked with Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) to identify technologies utilized by health departments and organizations to collect patient and vaccine information at mass vaccination clinics and organize them into a catalog for other organizations to refer to when considering investing in such technology. CDC and ORAU worked with NACCHO and the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) to develop and distribute a survey to NACCHO’s and AIM’s memberships, and conducted follow-up interviews to obtain detailed information on these tools, such as associated costs and technical and training requirements.
The project identified seven different types of technologies: barcode scanners, digital pens, magnetic card swipers, mobile applications, scanning, and web-based technology. Examples of each are detailed in the catalog, available through the NACCHO Toolbox.
Using the Catalog
This catalog is intended to assist health departments and others interested in improving the efficiency of their vaccination clinics. This catalog is laid out by technology type with a brief description, summary of features and capabilities, and type of data collected by each technology. The reported data collected by the technology is based on how it was used by the organization that provided the information. Data elements for the information that each technology collects are based on the American Immunization Registry Association’s recommended core data elements for IIS. Technology requirements such as software, hardware, and internet connection are listed when applicable. The catalog also provides information on whether or not the technology imports data electronically to a database such as IIS, EMR, etc. The catalog is not intended to endorse any specific product or brand, but rather to provide information on the types of technologies available. Products are listed in alphabetical order by technology type.
We hope that you will find the catalog useful for your organization in increasing the efficiency of mass vaccination clinics in terms of patient and data flow. As mass vaccination clinics provide opportunities to exercise and practice for a pandemic response, familiarity with these tools during inter-pandemic periods may contribute to improved preparedness and an optimized response in the event of an infectious disease outbreak or influenza pandemic.
Please contact Tom Fitzgerald (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Amy Parker Fiebelkorn (email@example.com) if you would like more information on this catalogue or if your jurisdiction uses other technology platforms at mass vaccination clinics that were not captured in the catalogue.