Cook Children's Health System has developed a way to scan barcodes on vaccine bottles and transfer the data into Microsoft HealthVault and Athenahealth's EHR database.
Cook Children's Health System
, in Fort
Worth, Texas, has initiated use of 2D barcodes on vaccine bottles, which
facilitates the streaming of data into health record databases such as the
Microsoft HealthVault patient portal and Athenahealth's AthenaClinicals
electronic health record (EHR) application.
Children's is a nonprofit pediatric health system with a history dating back to
Athenahealth is a provider of cloud practice management and EHR applications. Its Web-based
, allows physicians to input patient histories, symptoms and
diagnoses. Cook Children's began working with Athenahealth on the data link
between vaccines and EHRs in February 2010.
the physician group's purchasing program at Cook Children's, is working with
vaccine vendors Sanofi Pasteur and Merck to have them include the barcodes on
vaccine bottles, Ryan Champlin, vice president of operations for Cook
Children's physician network, told eWEEK
Children's is planning to showcase its 2D barcoding technology at the American
Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference from Oct. 15-18 in Boston.
Athenahealth announced the 2D barcode initiative on Oct. 12.
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted the requirement to use linear (1D)
barcodes on vaccines in August, physicians can now scan barcodes into EHRs.
Vaccine manufacturers have been allowed to include linear barcodes on bottles
since 2004, but the barcodes were too large to fit on the bottles, Champlin
Within the next year, 2D barcodes should begin appearing on vaccine bottles, according
to Champlin. The barcodes measure about a quarter of an inch square.
vaccine barcode data into EHRs will allow health care practices to better
manage their vaccine supply and make sure vaccines are administered to the
right child, along with the correct dose and timing, according to Athenahealth.
By inputting the vaccine information into patients' EHRs rather than separate
vaccine logs, doctors and clinicians will be able to eliminate errors,
according to Champlin. "This takes away the opportunity for mistakes and
allows the Athena software to confirm that we're giving the right vaccine to
the child," he explained.
the barcode also allows physicians to double-check the vaccine lot and
expiration data, Champlin said. "2D specifically gives us the ability to
capture info from the vaccine file to improve the safety of the vaccine,"
Parents, clinicians and pharmacists can scan vaccine barcodes into
using mobile phones.
By storing vaccine information in health record databases such as HealthVault and
AthenaClinicals, consumers will be able to maintain a record of vaccines from
years ago, suggested Jonathan Bush, Athenahealth's CEO and chairman.
health care, the ability to not only more effectively track vaccines but to
build this data into an EHR platform that can follow the patient is an absolute
game-changer, and we are confident that the forward thinking of Cook Children's
to again utilize the power of our cloud-based clinical network is going to lead
to an invaluable level of improved patient safety," Bush said in a
With HealthVault, Microsoft has created a capture path for vaccines into the PHR
portal, Champlin noted. At any pharmacy or doctor's office, by scanning the 2D
code on the vaccine bottle, patients' vaccine data will flow into a HealthVault
"Applications such as this one for vaccine management will help people to understand the
importance of connecting information throughout the health system and making it
promptly accessible to the people who need it, whether doctors, medical
inventory managers, or parents caring for their children," Peter Neupert,
corporate vice president for the health solutions group at Microsoft, said in a
In addition to the ability to stream vaccine data from barcodes, Microsoft has
updated HealthVault to allow patients to create an emergency file, including
data such as active medications, allergies, blood type and emergency contacts.
First responders can refer to this information in an emergency.
HealthVault also recently opened its database to
records from Google Health