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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Using RPMS to Submit Electronic Data

Introducing IHS Interface: How It Works

Whether needed for a one-time test or for ongoing submission, RPMS users at federal, tribal and urban health facilities can use the IHS Immunization Interface Management software, often referred to simply as IHS Interface, to meet the immunization registries measure for both Stage 1 and Stage 2.

For IHS Interface to function properly, EPs and EHs must use the RPMS Immunization Module to record and track immunizations. Doing so allows IHS Interface to extract information from the Immunization Module and format it into HL7 2.5.1 immunization messages that meet all ONC certification and CMS attestation criteria.

In addition to using the RPMS Immunization Module, EPs and EHs must verify that their IIS can accept HL7 messages. Although each state is required to build its own IIS system, not all states or jurisdictions are at the same level of readiness. State IIS are usually located within the immunization program of the state health department.

Unfortunately, EPs and EHs that have begun this verification process have reported a long lag time from the initial Q & A to achieving ongoing submission. This is due, in part, to state-to-state variability in messaging specifications. Although all states build their messaging to meet the same standards, some jurisdictions carry requirements that others do not.

In acknowledgment of these circumstances, the RPMS EHR was built with one software package that addresses the basic needs of all states. The IHS Interface team then releases patches on a continual basis in response to unique state requirements as they emerge. However, this means that providers have to wait, often for months, from the time messaging needs are identified until that need is met in IHS Interface. In addition, a state may need to make programming changes in order to accept RPMS messages in accordance with the HL7 standard. This creates a waiting period as well.

Providers who have yet to engage in this process may question whether they will be able to achieve the immunizations registries measure in 2014. Rest assured that ongoing submission encompasses all stages of the process from registration, project initiation, testing and validation to production interfacing. Furthermore, providers may meet one of the several exclusions already listed.

Questions

Contact your area immunization coordinator or area data exchange team for more information. Contact Cecile.Town@ihs.gov to learn more about the status of the software and how that impacts submission in a specific state.

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