(HealthDay News) – Incentive payments to health care providers to encourage adoption of the electronic health record (EHR), instituted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), should encourage bidirectional sharing of information between EHR systems and state or regional immunization information systems (IIS), according to research published online Feb. 7 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Kevin J. Dombkowski, DrPH, and Sarah J. Clark, MPH, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, discuss the implementation of the Stage-1 Meaningful Use Incentive Program, instituted by CMS to help foster adoption of the EHR. In particular, they discuss the criteria pertaining to submission of electronic data to a state or regional IIS.

The authors report that submission of electronic data to the IIS is particularly relevant for pediatric primary care. Transmission of EHRs to an IIS allows for identification of populations in which children are not adequately vaccinated, and for sharing of this information in real time. Although CMS criteria require a unidirectional flow of information from the EHR to the IIS, potential benefits could be achieved with a bidirectional flow of information. This would allow patients complete vaccination history to be available from the IIS to the EHR. Despite the likely benefits, the bidirectional flow of information is not required for Stage 1 meaningful use incentive payments, and may not be required for Stage 2.

“CMS has an opportunity to align meaningful use incentives with functions that will enable real-time, seamless, bidirectional interoperability between EHRs and IIS programs,” the authors write.

Full Text