Keeping Kids and Adults Healthy via Vaccination Programs

07 February 2014 | Andy Pitman, Microsoft Government Solutions

​A threat is emerging around the world that is neither political nor military in nature: an increase in the incidence of polio within some countries experiencing internal conflict. The cause – which has health officials worldwide concerned about the potential for broader outbreaks – can be traced to disruption in immunization practices that can sometimes occur in these situations, a reminder of the delicate balance in keeping deadly and debilitating diseases under control.

(Historical decline in worldwide polio cases. Copyright: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.)

In order to reduce the spread of polio and many other diseases it’s essential that children (and sometimes adults) are properly immunized. Here in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides guidelines for the proper management and administration of vaccines, and facilitates the distribution of federally-funded vaccines to economically disadvantaged populations through the Vaccines for Children Program. As part of their coordination effort, the CDC has also spearheaded the creation of immunization registries for the tracking and reporting of vaccination practices at a detailed level.

The sophistication level of these registries varies and is based on an assortment of technologies ranging from locally-created and maintained simple databases to complex vendor managed solutions.  In all cases the intent of these systems is to enable immunization event capture, consolidation, reporting, and data sharing with the CDC.  One value of the immunization registries is that health officials can proactively intervene in situations in which vaccination rates may pose a public health hazard. For example, the measles infection rate in the US tripled in 2013, often attributable to un-vaccinated travelers to foreign countries who return and infect un-vaccinated populations here. Identifying at-risk populations is possible through analysis of these immunization registries, and provides local health agencies the information needed to proactively serve their communities.

Microsoft partner Envision Technology Partners has a class-leading immunization registry solution built upon SQL Server and ASP.NET.  This solution, WebIZ, is in use in 15 US jurisdictions, and scales from statewide systems to the smallest of the CDC grantee sites. In addition, Envision has developed complementary applications that help local health agencies manage individual patient cases for specialized programs like Hepatitis B and STDs, and improve preparation for disease outbreaks and other emergencies.

Envision is committed to delivering a lowest total cost of ownership solution, both in terms of initial acquisition and ongoing support and maintenance. As part of that commitment, Envision will soon begin offering their solution in a Microsoft Azure-based hosted option, enabling governments to focus on improved vaccination rates and data collection without the administrative burden of systems management.  This approach also allows government vaccination monitoring organizations to reduce worry about potential system crashes and associated data corruption because, in the Azure hosted solution, data is redundantly and automatically stored in multiple geographic locations.

We encourage government health officials to take a look at Envision’s solution. And we encourage everyone to keep your family’s immunizations up to date.

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Andy Pitman
Microsoft Government Solutions