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Division of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention
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Health Issues - Vaccine- Preventable Diseases

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IHS Initiative: Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Personnel (HCP)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched an initiative to improve influenza vaccination rates among Health Care Personnel (HCP) with the goal of reaching the Healthy People 2010 objective of a 60 percent influenza vaccination rate among HCP. In 2006, influenza vaccination rates were 42% for HCP. As part of this initiative, HHS asked all HHS agencies, including IHS, develop a plan to promote vaccination of HCP with influenza vaccine, and collect and report data on HCP vaccination coverage to HHS.

In response to the HHS initiative to promote influenza vaccination of HCP, IHS developed a plan to report on influenza vaccine coverage for their HCP. Guidance documents and tracking and reporting forms were developed and can be accessed from the IHS website. In addition, IHS has developed three PowerPoint presentations about influenza vaccination to help educate staff. These presentations can be modified and used by facilities to assist with this initiative. Each IHS Area has designated an Area Influenza Coordinator who worked with facilities to collect reports on HCP influenza vaccination coverage in January 2009. Facility reports were aggregated into an Area report and submitted to the IHS Division of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention's Immunization Program. The Area reports will be used to develop a national IHS report to send to HHS as part of this initiative. The final report will also be posted on the IHS website.

Immunization Data Exchange

Medical record scattering is a common problem and can affect patient care. For immunizations, incomplete information can lead to over or under immunization and wasted resources. CDC has supported the development of state immunization registries to address these issues. Immunization data stored in the IHS RPMS, however, are usually not included in state immunization registries as it may not be feasible for sites to enter the immunizations they provide into two systems (the RPMS and the state immunization registry).

The Immunization Data Exchange initiative has resulted in the development of software that extracts immunization data from the RPMS system and sends it to state immunization registries using standard Health Level Seven (HL7) messages in accordance with CDC's national immunization registry data exchange standards. In response to the data sent from the RPMS, the state registry creates a file of immunizations missing in the RPMS data and sends that back to the facility. This information can then be downloaded into the RPMS, alleviating the need for staff to enter the information into the RPMS, and ensuring that a patient's complete immunization history is available to the provider.

The software was released nationally in August 2005, and is currently in use in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota and Wisconsin, with plans to expand to additional sites and states. As more state registries become able to send immunization information back to facilities, this initiative will improve patient care by allowing any IHS, Tribal or Urban provider who uses RPMS to have access to a child's complete immunization history, thereby ensuring appropriate immunization. For more information about this initiative and how it is working in your state, contact Cecile Town.

2009 IHS Immunization Data Exchange Survey

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National Immunization Reporting System (NIRS)

NIRS is a web-based reporting tool used to collect quarterly immunization data from IHS/Tribal/Urban facilities nationwide. NIRS was developed in partnership with the IHS Public Health Nursing Program to improve the quality and timeliness of immunization data. Please see our policies/resources page for a PowerPoint presentation and a WebEx recording of a NIRS training. We plan to enhance the NIRS reports in 2009 to include options for users to develop trend graphs for their facility and Area. Until then, we have included two templates to help graph immunization data. The graphs were developed with help from the Portland Area Immunization Program.

For more information on NIRS please contact Cheyenne Jim or Amy Groom

Report Templates: