From a family perspective, the vaccine registry can provide a great deal of convenience. From a population health perspective, it can enable accurate information and helps to keep the population safe.Erik M. Shessler, MD
The State of New Hampshire now has a statewide electronic immunization registry. On April 15, New Hampshire joined the other U.S. states with similar registries in operation. The New Hampshire Immunization Information System (NHIIS) provides a central location for all residents and their health care providers to have secure, web-based access to individual immunization records. It is a service of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS).
“New Hampshire’s vaccine registry is something to celebrate,” says Erik M. Shessler, MD, an associate medical director for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) and chapter president of the New Hampshire Pediatric Society. “From a family perspective, the vaccine registry can provide a great deal of convenience. From a population health perspective, it can enable accurate information and helps to keep the population safe.”
Improving individual and community health
NHIIS offers many benefits to patients and families. It offers the ability to consolidate all vaccinations from multiple medical providers into one single record. This means that if a patient moves out of state, changes primary care providers or simply needs immunization records for school, child care or summer camp, they can be easily accessed—eliminating the risk of duplication and streamlining record review.
It also enables vaccination reminders and can identify patients in need of critical immunizations during a disease outbreak. For example, California’s vaccination registry helped pinpoint regions and populations requiring vaccination outreach during the state’s measles outbreak.
The NHIIS system was designed with multiple security protocols, so all patient information is private and secure. Patient data on file includes name, date of birth, gender, complete address (including the county of residence), vaccine name, manufacturer, lot number and the date the vaccine was administered. However, no identifying information is visible to analysts and other health officials studying trends.
Participation is completely voluntary, and patients may choose to opt-out through their medical providers with “Choose Not to Participate in the New Hampshire Immunization/Vaccination Registry” forms. Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) encourages our patients to participate in the registry. NHIIS will help our care teams take care of you by making sure your vaccinations are up-to-date no matter where you got your vaccines, and you will have the ability to access your own information whenever you need it.
A system in progress
Shessler says that all state health systems and private practices are currently working on developing connections between vaccine information in electronic health records and the state immunization registry.
“D-H's Information Technology Department is standing by, ready, to work with the state on this electronic exchange of information,” he says. “As the state registry becomes more functional in the coming months, it will simplify the work our medical staff currently does to register vaccinations, and it will be seamless on the patient end.”
Currently, NHIIS is collecting pediatric patient immunization data for all state-supplied vaccines delivered at pediatric and family medicine practices. Eventually, the system will be open to adult patients and can include federally supplied vaccines and other vaccines administered at other health locations.
For additional information about the NHIIS, contact your primary care provider or visit here.