Tucson, AZ (PRWEB) July 31, 2013
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) celebrated the new decade by introducing a next-generation software tool that took vaccine ordering, tracking and management to the next level. With its Vaccine Tracking System (VTrckS), healthcare workers can now order and track their vaccines in real-time as well as forecast the number of vaccines they need in future orders, easily track vaccine lot numbers for better inventory records, and manage their vaccine budgets all online. This improves the efficiency and accountability of public dollars used to purchase vaccines. The CDC rolled out VTrckS across all state and jurisdictional grantees from April 2012 to May 2013.
VTrckS works through an interactive, privacy-protected interface, similar to an electronic health record. Healthcare workers initially place an order through VTrckS by referencing data in their state’s immunization information system (IIS). The VTrckS application is available through download, but use of the downloaded version is very technical. For healthcare workers to easily access and use VTrckS, the software must be integrated with the state’s IIS, a complex task with numerous challenges.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, which uses the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR), integrated VTrckS into their system last month with assistance from Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC). The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, another WIR user, also implemented VTrckS earlier this year with STC’s help. In addition, STC worked closely with both states to develop a VTrckS interface that addressed the different needs of each program.
“For Montana, we added support for the three different export types to existing related pages where that data would otherwise be accessed by the user,” says STC software engineer Stephan Cleaves who led the projects in both states. “In Maine, a single location in WIR provides for the export of all VTrckS data.”
When Montana healthcare workers export files from WIR to VTrckS, each export is provided with separate Comma-Separated Value (CSV) files for each provider site. These export files include data regarding on-hand inventory and details about the requested order. Each of these sets of data is generated by one-click buttons embedded within the state’s IIS. Only an authorized state IIS user can access and approve orders within Montana’s VTrckS system.
“For Maine, we developed a completely new user interface for exporting VTrckS data,” says Cleaves “They wanted all functions available from one page rather than distributed in existing, but related, pages.”
Maine’s three export files, Agreement, Reconciliation and Orders, correspond in VTrckS to the Provider Master Data export, the Provider Ending Inventory Data export and the Provider Order Data export. STC added functionality on a single webpage to integrate the information from these three files.
STC, with over eight years of experience in the development of vaccine ordering and inventory management systems, has also successfully assisted the states of Washington, Arizona, Wyoming, Alaska, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Mississippi with implementing VTrckS within their respective state immunization information systems. Each of these states use STC’s IWeb™ immunization information system product. Notably, the Washington State Department of Health was one of six pilot sites the CDC invited to first test VTrckS in 2010, and the state was also one of the first to implement VTrckS.
STC’s goal is to ensure healthy populations through partnership, expertise, and applied use of information technology. In the early 1990s, STC was one of the first promoters of the value of immunization registries and the data that could be used for decision support to augment clinical practice, targeting the reduction and impact of vaccine preventable disease on children. With the support of physicians, organizations, and policy and vaccine experts, STC’s public health and software professionals became the trusted authority that led many of the early efforts and best practices to implement statewide registries. The efforts continue today as over 250 million vaccine encounters are retained in the immunization registries of STC and their state public health partners. Increasing the value of these national health data assets is a primary goal of STC through the next decade.