HHS Provides $20 Million to Widen COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sharing

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has offered $20 million to enhance data sharing between health information exchanges (HIEs) and immunization information systems.

The funds came from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) fund which President Trump approved on March 27, 2020 to aid vaccination campaigns to beat the COVID-19 outbreak.

The funding extends the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)’s Strengthening the Technical Advancement and Readiness of Public Health Agencies via Health Information Exchange (STAR HIE) Program and can aid communities in their health information sharing in connection with COVID-19 vaccinations.

Public health departments could be given more help to track and distinguish people who haven’t gotten a second dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine. The extra funding will help doctors know and communicate with high-risk persons who haven’t acquired their first vaccination.

The added investment will be distributed throughout the country and will be employed to help communities that were hit really hard by COVID-19. The HHS will likewise be providing finances to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and also the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) to enhance HIE immunization collaborations.

These CARES Act funds can help physicians better gain access to information of their patients from their community immunization departments by employing the assets of their local health information exchanges. By means of these collaborative initiatives, public health services, and doctors will be better prepared to more effectively give immunizations to at-risk patients, have an understanding of unfavorable events, and better keep tabs on lasting health outcomes as more and more Americans are given vaccines.

The good results of vaccination programs are based on effectively determining patients and making certain patients acquire two doses of the right vaccine. That means clinics, pharmacists, and public health officers should have access to patient information and vaccine data. Efficient data exchange and patient matching can additionally help to give information into the success of the vaccines and keeping track of continuous health results. STAR HIE expects to give statistics to gauge vaccination outcomes.

There are around 100 HIEs in the USA which reach close to 92% of Americans. There are 63 immunization information systems in the country, one per state, 8 in territories, and five in cities. The immunization information systems are financed, partially, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).