Student Immunization Records Are Easily Reviewable Thanks to Health IT

Fadesola Adetosoye and Donna Mazyck | September 19, 2013

Many of us are still taking care of back to school obligations, including looking for our children’s immunization records. Now, with the wider use of health information technology, or health IT, parents can better manage their children’s health information and school nurses can use these electronic tools to help facilitate reviews of student immunization records.

Student immunization records can be difficult to obtain

Currently, student immunization records come to school nurses in a variety of ways:

  • Families share the paper records they have at home;
  • Primary healthcare providers share student immunization records after receiving parent permission; and
  • School nurses access state immunization information systems (where they are available).

Health IT allows schools and IIS to work together to obtain student immunization records

State level electronic immunization information systems (IIS) can help school nurses verify the status of their students’ immunizations.  Bobo, Etkind, Martin, Chi, & Coyle (2013) External Links Disclaimer point out that collaboration between school nurses and state IIS staff benefits schools, students, families, state and local immunization programs:

  • Accurate student immunization records to meet school entry immunization requirements is easily retrieved;
  • Interoperability between school records, public health records, and the IIS is enhanced;
  • Positive outcomes for both school and public health administration are realized, such as:
    • Cost savings in terms of staff time,
    • Better management of vaccine supply,
    • Reduced number of unnecessary immunizations,
    • Enhanced funding due to improved daily attendance,
    • Protection against disruptions of the learning environment created by vaccine-preventable disease; and,
    • Dialogue between school nurses, health departments, and immunization program managers can be improved to ensure effective immunization program planning and emergency preparedness at the local, state, and national levels.

Student Immunization Records help healthcare providers track children’s care

In addition, with the wider adoption of Blue Button, parents, family physicians and other health care providers, as well as school nurses, can better track immunizations and manage their children’s care. And, as more and more states and communities build their immunization registries; Blue Button-enabled records can include immunization information, facilitating easy reviews of student immunization records.

School nurses and families can contact state/territory level immunization information systems staff  to inquire how they can make use of the systems’ immunization information exchanges to keep students in school and ready to learn.

Frequently asked questions about Blue Button will help parents and school nurses know more about improving the accessibility of student immunization records.