November 25, 2015

Cook Children’s Health Care System and athenahealth Announce Nation’s First 2D Barcode System for Vaccines

PedsPal, Cook Children’s Health Care System’s physician group’s purchasing program, has collaborated with athenahealth, Microsoft, Sanofi Pasteur, and Merck, as well as its physician members, to establish the nation’s first use of 2D barcodes on vaccines. Cook Children’s will demonstrate the new 2D barcoding technology at the upcoming American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference being held from October 15-18th in Boston, Massachusetts.

Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a guidance that allows an exemption to the existing requirement to use linear (i.e., 1D) barcodes on vaccines. As a result, physicians across America who use athenaClinicals(R), athenahealth’s electronic health record (EHR) service platform, will soon be able to simply scan a vaccine’s barcode and have that information automatically incorporated into a patient’s EHR. This new capability will grant a host of new physician capabilities that Cook Children’s has been developing with athenahealth through its EHR since February of 2010, including:

  • Better managing a practice’s vaccine supply–lowering their costs
  • Confirming that the vaccine about to be given is for the right child, in the right dose, and at the right time
  • Sending notice of the vaccine dose to the state’s vaccine registry automatically
  • Creating a reorder to replace the administered vaccine

“Cook Children’s is pleased to help achieve this groundbreaking milestone in the care of children,” said Jason Terk, M.D., pediatrician with the Cook Children’s Physician Network and Medical Director of PedsPal. “This new barcode system not only allows us to enhance our level of care, but also sets the standard for the entire nation. As health care providers, it’s important for us not to follow, but to take the lead, in using technology. We will be able, like never before, to meet the parents’ needs in an efficient manner and in a way that fits their lifestyle.”

This unique collaborative effort will provide parents and guardians with the ability to use their smartphones to scan vaccines administered to their children directly into their personal health record stored in their Microsoft HealthVault account, assuring that they have a complete record of immunizations received, which can be accessible to the family from any Internet connection when they need it. Microsoft HealthVault is a trusted place for people to organize, store, and share health information online.

Jonathan Bush, athenahealth’s CEO and Chairman, said, “Let’s face it, asking a parent to remember the last time their college-age child got a tetanus shot is unreliable, and the odds that their current doctor in San Francisco is aware that this shot was administered in Boston 20 years ago are slim at best. In 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.”

Peter Neupert, Corporate Vice President, Health Solutions Group, Microsoft, said, “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. We’re excited to work with Cook Children’s and athenahealth to deliver solutions to help improve care and empower families to manage their health.”