Immunizations system sought for Defense-VA electronic health record

By Bob Brewin

August 6, 2012

Add an immunization system to the early projects that together will create an integrated electronic health record -- planned for full deployment by 2017 -- to serve the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments.

Defense and VA kicked off  the procurement process for the iEHR pharmacy system on May 31 and detailed their plans for a joint lab test system on June 12.

The TRICARE Management Activity, which helps manage information technology development and operation for the military health system, put out a request for information  to industry last Friday. It wants a system that allows both departments to document, monitor and report immunizations.

Military personnel receive a wide range of shots during their careers, starting with flu and measles immunizations in boot camp and roughly 20 shots prior to deployment -- including immunizations against anthrax, hepatitis, smallpox and tetanus.

VA recommends veterans receive additional shots, depending on their physical condition, age and gender. All veterans should get an annual flu shot, women veterans older than 26 should receive shots to protect them against genital diseases and all vets older than 60 should get a shingles shot, VA recommends.

Defense and VA currently manage immunizations on separate IT systems with discrete data repositories and complex sharing processes. Defense currently uses six systems to track and manage immunization data, with all shot records maintained in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and the Clinical Data Repository of the Armed Forces Longitudinal Application electronic health record. The Army, Navy and Air Force maintain separate immunization systems to track shot records for their personnel.

VA stores immunization information in the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture electronic health record in a database called V IMMUNIZATIONS maintained locally at its hospitals. That data is available nationally through a Web interface.

TRICARE said it wants to develop an iEHR immunization system that tracks and manages the:

The iEHR immunization system should interact with order entry systems that clinicians use, alert those clinicians to potential adverse effects of shots on a particular patient’s allergies or medical condition, interface with Defense and VA scheduling systems, and forecast the need for shots based on disease outbreaks, TRICARE said.

TRICARE said it was open to using either open source or commercial software for the iEHR immunization system. Reponses from industry are due Aug. 17.

(Image via Marlon Lopez/

By Bob Brewin

August 6, 2012