As part of the Blue Button initiative, several states are currently involved in a pilot program that allows parents to gain direct online access to their children’s immunization records.

The Office of the National Coordinator and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched the project in five states--Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, Washington and West Virginia--that connects a secure and convenient web-based portal to immunization data that can be made available to both healthcare providers and consumers.

“To participate in the pilot program, the states, providers and practices had to develop ways to encourage patients to register for access to the portal,” writes Simone Myrie, an ONC public health analyst, in an Aug. 26 blog. “ONC and our partners hope more states will leverage health IT to help increase immunization rates and accountability, while reducing unnecessary burdens on providers, their staff, parents and school nurses.”

Alaska is working with one public health center, a tribal health center, a federally qualified health center (FQHC) and one private practice. Arizona is involved with one pediatric practice, a FQHC and two public health clinics. Louisiana is engaging with multiple pediatric practices and continuing to roll out the portal to its public health clinics and other private practices. Washington is working with a mobile immunization clinic, and West Virginia is starting with five pediatric practices, one family practice and expanding to roughly a dozen practices during the project.

As an example, Myrie points to Latouche Pediatrics in Anchorage, Ala., which operates three offices where more than 4,000 immunizations are administered each month. Families can log in to LaTouche’s patient portal and view and print copies of their immunization records along with other health information. Patients can also use their smartphones to log into the portal, type in a fax number and have the immunization information sent directly to a school nurse.

“Health IT is already showing how the efficiency of healthcare can be improved. Gaining easy electronic access to immunization records is just one step in improving these interactions,” according to Myrie, who reports that the pilots will run through April 2016.

Besides the ONC and CDC pilot programs, she says there are other medical offices around the country that are proactively connecting with their state immunization system and giving families access to their vaccination records on their own patient portals.

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