Researchers: One-way sharing of data from EHRs to immunization registries risky for patients

Requiring only communication from electronic health records to immunization registries, but not from the registries back to the providers, impedes data exchange and renders Meaningful Use requirements "incomplete," researchers from the University of Michigan concluded in a recent article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, reported about in EHR Outlook.

The authors noted that Stage 1 of Meaningful Use requires providers to attest only that their EHR has successfully sent a test message to a state or regional immunization information system (IIS). However, since there is no requirement for a provider's EHR to receive any information in return from the IIS--something not likely to be a requirement under Stage 2 of Meaningful Use--the exchange of data falls short.

Without bidirectional operability, immunization records won't be synchronized, meaning that physicians can't query the IIS in real time, and won't know if the IIS has already recorded immunizations for that patient--all of which could lead to unneeded immunization doses being administered, or unnecessary recall notices getting sent.

"Ultimately, this will likely cost practices time and resources and may negatively affect the quality of care provided," the authors stated.

The authors noted that bidirectional operability poses some challenges, such as the customization of EHRs and their ability to report to more than one IIS. However, this functionality is not far-fetched, the authors say. They called upon the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to consider aligning the Meaningful Use incentives with functions that would allow for such two-way communication.

To learn more:
- read the American Journal of Preventive Medicine article (.pdf) 
- check out this EHR Outlook article

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