How Interoperability Enables Vaccine Management

Posted by Brooke Lester on Mar 10, 2021 4:02 PM

How Interoperability Enables Vaccine Management

After months of tirelessly working on a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, scientists triumphantly announced they had a viable product. Yet, in spite of the exciting news, questions arose about how it would be distributed. These questions brought up another topic: healthcare interoperability.

Healthcare interoperability is critical to effective vaccine management—from storage to distribution to administering the doses. Gain a deeper understanding of Healthcare EDI. Download the ebook.

What’s Involved in Vaccine Management

The vaccine is the best hope to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. As such, effective vaccine management is crucial.

Vaccine management has a number of moving parts to it. For a start, protocols must be set:

  • How should the vaccine be stored?
  • How many doses will patients need?
  • If they need more than one dose, how far apart should those doses be administered?

Second, providers will need to record who has received the vaccine and how many doses they’ve received. Recording doses has another purpose: it helps researchers understand any possible side effects associated with the vaccine. Perhaps a patient had a preexisting or underlying medical condition, or maybe the vaccine wasn’t stored properly.

Getting a vaccine

Healthcare Interoperability and Vaccine Management

What’s the relationship between healthcare interoperability and vaccine management? Let’s take a look at what the concept of healthcare interoperability means.

At its most basic level, healthcare interoperability means that electronic health records (EHRs) could share data with one another. Let’s say you’re from Minnesota and you want to spend the winter in Florida. Healthcare interoperability would mean that if you needed to go to the emergency room in Florida, the staff there would be able to read your EHR and prescribe the right medication.

“Healthcare interoperability means that EHRs could share data with one another.”

The concept of healthcare interoperability takes on new importance as the COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out. If a patient receives the first dose of the vaccine and has an allergic reaction, that’s crucial information for the patient’s physician as well as the vaccine manufacturers.

Moreover, healthcare interoperability becomes important when patients receive vaccines at facilities outside of a doctor’s office. Let’s say there’s an initiative to vaccinate patients at their homes; the healthcare worker administering the vaccine would need a mobile device with the patient’s EHR on it so that the record could be updated. Even if a patient receives the vaccine at a pharmacy, the pharmacist will still need to update that person’s EHR.

Moving Towards Greater Healthcare Interoperability for Effective Vaccine Management

Healthcare interoperability is still a goal that vendors, the government, and the healthcare industry are working toward. The good news is that there are some elements of healthcare interoperability already in place, such as FHIR. FHIR is a healthcare integration protocol that joins disparate systems so information can be transmitted from one system to another.

Healthcare integration plays an important role in vaccine management and distribution. It will allow healthcare workers, governments, and pharmaceutical companies access to vital information so that the right people get the vaccine at the right time. Gain a deeper understanding of Healthcare EDI. Download the ebook.