November 2022 Monthly Update


Monthly Update

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November 2022 in Review

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Executive Director's Update

Greetings and happy winter! 

 

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are keeping warm, as many have already been visited by cold temperatures and snow. If you’re already dreaming of warmer weather, a great option would be the AIRA National Meeting in San Diego. While we don’t meet until May, it will give you something to look forward to! Registration is now open, and hotel reservations can be made by visiting the AIRA National Meeting website. For those of you wanting to submit an abstract, remember: the Call for Abstracts closes Sunday, January 8

 

To recap the month, the National Adult and Immunization Summit took place in Atlanta. There was a strong emphasis on the importance of IIS as a tool to improve adult vaccination. Other hot topics covered during the meeting included the proposed Vaccines for Adults (VFA) program, quality measures for adult immunization, lessons from COVID-19, the adult vaccine pipeline, an update on the early start to this year’s influenza season, and current challenges achieving coverage targets. 

 

Additionally, I want to bring to your attention the Public Health Data Systems Task Force recommendations, which are now available and include a recommendation to replace F1 with IIP testing (report page 13: Public Health Data Systems-TF-2022 Recommendation 30). The next step is for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to review the recommendations and determine which recommendations are feasible. 

 

In what looks to be a bad flu season, don’t forget to take care of YOURSELF and get vaccinated. Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season! 

 

Rebecca Coyle, MSEd

Executive Director


 



AIRA 2023 National Meeting Announcement

Registration is now open! 

Register to attend and reserve your hotel room today to join us next May in San Diego, California!

The AIRA 2023 National Meeting will be a great opportunity to continue our work together to ensure healthy communities through the development and implementation of immunization information systems.

 

Visit the National Meeting website to:

  • Register to attend
  • Submit an abstract
  • Reserve your hotel room

Early-bird registration closes Sunday, April 2.

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How Ready Were We for COVID-19

In the spring of 2020, the world was struck by COVID-19. Our health care system took a blow so severe the repercussions have left many wondering if we were ready for a health care catastrophe such as this. Angela Shen, Elizabeth Sobczyk, Rebecca Coyle, Amber Tirmal, and Claire Hannan published an article about this question as it pertains to vaccination preparedness. The article, “How ready was the US vaccination infrastructure and network of immunization information systems for COVID-19 vaccination campaigns: Recommendations to strengthen the routine vaccination program and prepare for the next pandemic,” emphasizes three strategic recommendations concerning funding, expanded provider enrollment, and data reporting. To learn more about these recommendations, read the full article!

 

AIRA Board Spotlight

The Board Spotlight is a new addition to the Monthly Update, providing both AIRA staff and the IIS community the opportunity to learn a little about each AIRA board member. Every month, we will feature a different board member. This month, we are getting to know board president-elect Heather Roth. Heather is joining us from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. 

Q: What is one thing you would like to say to the IIS community?

You are now more important and relevant than ever.

 

Q: Tell us about your favorite or worst job in high school or college.

It was a blend of best and worst. I worked in an ice cream shop, meaning I got unlimited free ice cream. At the same time, I didn’t alternate my scooping arm frequently enough, so by the end of the summer my right forearm was significantly larger than my left.

            

Q: What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the AIRA board?

Do it without hesitation and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. It’s awesome. 

 

Q: Finish this sentence: “Wouldn’t it be great…”

If we had a 35-hour work week!

 

Q: What’s one thing you have learned from an AIRA workgroup or committee?

I’ve been involved in a lot of AIRA committees over the years. The one that stands out to me is the Assessment Steering Committee that sunset a couple years ago. It helped open my eyes to different things that programs are doing, and all were so creative.

 

Q: Favorite childhood sport?

Soccer

 

Q: Share a person or experience that influenced your IIS career in a positive way.

Migrating from a legacy system to a commercial off-the-shelf product.  Working through that process, learning a new system, creating testing, training, and everything that just goes into a system conversion. This learning process has really helped me going forward in my career.

 

Q: If you could have any food right now, what would it be?

Dark chocolate

 

Q: Is there anything new your organization is working on/toward that you would like to share? 

Yes! Something I’m excited about is how our public health information systems are incorporating sexual orientation and gender identity into our systems in a standardized way. It really helps to increase health and vaccine equity.

 



 

Smarty Changes

Changes to autocomplete functionality

As of October 4, 2022, Smarty announced the deprecation of AutoComplete Basic, previously included in the US Address Standard product. The AutoComplete Basic feature relied on outdated technology and is no longer available to Smarty users. Want to learn more about Smarty address cleansing, geocoding, and other ways to get connected? AIRA can help! Please visit AIRA’s Address Cleansing web page or contact Tesha Lucas to learn more.

 

Wanted: Smarty User Group presenters

The Smarty User Group is a forum that meets virtually every quarter bringing together current, interested, and future Smarty users from the IIS community. We are looking for guest presenters for our upcoming 2023 meetings in February, May, August, and November. Topics are wide-ranging, and we love to feature IIS’ Smarty success stories or how Smarty has been integrated into business operations. If you are interested in presenting during one of our upcoming meetings, please email Tesha Lucas.

 

Measurement & Improvement Updates

Data at Rest Moving into Assessment

AIRA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the members of MACAW (the Measurement for Assessment and Certification Advisory Workgroup) achieved consensus at the July 2022 in-person meeting to move 45 Data at Rest (DAR) measures currently in Testing and Discovery into the Assessment stage of the Measurement and Improvement (M&I) Initiative.

As the next step in the M&I process, AIRA prepared and disseminated draft DAR Assessment measures and tests in early fall to the IIS community for review and feedback. In total, AIRA received 34 comments. On November 10, AIRA reviewed proposed language to address and reconcile the comments in the final version, which MACAW unanimously approved. AIRA, CDC, and MACAW sincerely thank the community for their critical input to produce the final Measures and Tests for DAR, coming soon to the AIRA repository. IIS participating in M&I will receive communication via the Aggregate Analysis Reporting Tool (AART) in January 2023 regarding measurement and sharing settings to participate in DAR Assessment. 

 

Save the Date: 2023 Interoperability Training course

AIRA staff are currently preparing materials to host the next edition of the Interoperability Training series this January and February. This six-week course is focused on immunization messaging and is intended for programmatic and technical IIS staff. Participants will attend weekly sessions and complete “homework” to learn the structure and importance of HL7 V2 immunization messages, leading to a basic understanding of the programmatic implications of this data capture. Certificates of completion are available for those who attend 80% of sessions. Course registration will open mid-December.

 

Updated Q3 2022 reports 

Individual IIS reports are available and can be accessed via AART. Updated aggregate Assessment and basic and complete Validation reports for Transport, Submission/Acknowledgment, Query/Response, Data Quality Incoming/Ongoing, and Clinical Decision Support are available in the AIRA repository for third quarter 2022. 

 

Updated technical assistance (TA) catalog

In collaboration with CDC and PHII, AIRA offers TA to IIS and their partners to increase alignment with national standards and improve interoperability between data exchange partners. AIRA’s TA offerings include virtual and on-site options to meet a range of needs, including provider onboarding, epidemiology support, and data visualization services. AIRA recently updated its catalog of available services and resource offerings to the IIS community. Anyone from the IIS community is invited to review the updated catalog and submit requests for TA via AIRA’s online form.

 


 

Epi Shared Services (ESS) Is in Full Swing! Don't Miss Out on These Offerings!

In March, AIRA launched its ESS initiative to support new-hire onboarding, training, and advancement of data analysis skills among immunization information system (IIS) data analysts and epidemiologists. Since that time, ESS has offered a variety of resources for those who extract, analyze, interpret, visualize, report out, or interact with IIS data. Be sure to check out these ESS resources today!

 

Mini-series

The ESS Mini-series is a short-duration discussion group offered to data analysts in the immunization community. The first mini-series took place during six consecutive Wednesdays in October and November. Twenty-four individuals representing 17 IIS jurisdictions participated in community sharing and implementation-focused discussions. The following topics were discussed:

  • Creating standardized data processes/preparing for sustainability 
  • Improving data request processes
  • Denominator calculations
  • Tracking trends in coverage rates
  • Incorporating the CDC Data Quality Blueprint
  • Use of IIS data to help internal immunization programs (e.g., VFC, perinatal HepB)

Curious about the conversations? You can find the mini-series binder in the AIRA repository. The binder includes summaries of the conversations, recordings of the discussions, as well as all the presentation slides used. 

 

Data visualization trainings
AIRA just wrapped up two Intro to Power BI trainings this fall and is offering two Tableau trainings this winter. These courses are free and fully customized, using data specific to an IIS audience.

  • Introduction to Tableau: January 19 and 26 and February 2 and 9 (Thursdays) from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Intermediate Tableau: January 24 and 31 and February 7 and 14 (Tuesdays) from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET

Interested individuals can fill out a training application here and select which training they are interested in (e.g., intro, intermediate). Spots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

AIRA continues to host Power BI and Tableau user groups on a bimonthly basis.

 

Epi Connect

AIRA’s Epi Connect peer connection program was launched on November 29. During this event, 35 individuals representing 22 IIS jurisdictions were paired with peers who have complementary skills. The goal of the program is to broaden connections in the IIS community. Connections are informal, and pairs can connect as frequently as desired and through whatever format makes the most sense (e.g., phone, email, web-based meetings). 

During the kickoff event, Utah and California shared examples of how they have collaborated on topics related to IIS data analysis. This type of cross-jurisdictional collaboration doesn’t need to be formal or project-based. The Epi Connect launch was a success, and participants gained an epi friend (or two!).

 

Code library
AIRA staff and IIS community volunteers have been busy exploring platforms to house the ESS crowd-sourced code library. Platforms being considered are AIRA’s repository and GitHub. Volunteers from the IIS community will be testing these platforms soon, so stay tuned!

 

Epi staff augmentation and support  
AIRA continues to provide epidemiological support and data visualization technical assistance. Our epidemiologist, Taylor Boomsma, is only an email away and available during weekly data visualization office hours:

  • Tuesdays 11a.m. to noon ET 
  • Thursdays 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET

To attend the office hours, email Taylor directly. 

 

If you are stuck on a data set or need some visualization support, don’t hesitate to reach out to Taylor via email or through our technical assistance form to get the info you need to drop in to office hours. 

 

ESS participants are an engaged, lively bunch! Thanks to everyone who has joined one of the ESS offerings. If you are interested in being involved in ESS, please fill out this form to be added to our mailing list. We look forward to seeing you again, and we look forward to welcoming new epi/data analyst colleagues into the community!


 

Discovery Session 

Join the Immunization Integration Program (IIP) on Wednesday, December 14, from 3 to 4 p.m. ET as presenters highlight current and future efforts and program strategies to improve immunization interoperability. Walk through the process of how immunization interoperability challenges are identified, selected, and tackled by data exchange partners with diverse perspectives.

 

Register today!

 

These sessions review topic areas relevant to all IIS managers but specifically target new(er) IIS managers, staff, and those new to the IIS community.

 

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for registration information.


Committee and Workgroup Updates: November Recap

HL7 Immunization User Group

  • The HL7 Immunization User Group met on November 10.
  • The HL7 Immunization User Group received updates about the HL7 Immunization Innovations Workgroup and Standards and Interoperability Steering Committee (SISC).
  • The user group observed and participated in a panel discussion about facilities identification.
  • The next meeting is December 8, 2022, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET.

Measurement for Assessment & Certification Advisory Workgroup (MACAW)

  • MACAW met on November 10.
  • The workgroup discussed the outcomes from the DAR Town Hall and reviewed comments received.
  • The group received an update on the methodology and approach for onboarding.
  • MACAW also began discussions of the 2023 in-person meeting.
  • The next meeting is December 8, 2022, from noon to 1 p.m. ET.

IIS Best Practices Community of Practice (CoP)

  • The CoP met on November 16.
  • Participants brainstormed IIS-related topics that might benefit from the creation of best practices. These will be discussed further and prioritized at future meetings.
  • If you are interested in joining the CoP, please complete this online form.
  • Learn more about the group by visiting the IIS Best Practices CoP web page.
  • The next meeting is January 18, 2023, from noon to 12:50 p.m. ET (join this workgroup).  

Power BI User Group (PUG)

Smarty User Group

  • The Smarty User Group met on November 16.
  • The Smarty User Group received a demo/update from Stuart Wright at Smarty.
  • The user group had a discussion on address cleansing and any questions about it.
  • The next meeting is February 15, 2023, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET (join this workgroup).

Standards & Interoperability Steering Committee (SISC)

  • SISC met on November 9.
  • Lori Moore gave an update on code sets from the CDC.
  • Nathan Bunker from AIRA gave an update on the SISC Small Group SOGI (Sexual Orientation Gender Identity) and on the comments received.
  • The committee heard about IIS Onboarding Templates and the Provider-IIS Companion Guide from Michelle Hood at AIRA.
  • Craig Newman from Altarum gave an update on Helios and gave an overview of the Interop Catalog. 
  • The next meeting is December 14, 2022, from 1 to 2 p.m. ET (join this workgroup). 

Tableau User Group (TUG)

  • TUG met on November 22, 2022. 
  • Rachel Tulibagenyi, Tennessee Department of Health, presented “Tennessee Vaccine Coverage Rates Dashboard.” 
  • TUG has over 150 members representing 48 jurisdictions/organizations. Interested in learning more? Click here.
  • The next meeting is January 24, 2023, from noon to 1 p.m. ET (join this workgroup). 

NOTE: Meeting minutes will capture only action items and decisions made. Recordings of the meetings can be obtained directly upon request by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 

AIRA Job Opportunities

Are you interested in working for AIRA or in the IIS community? Find current job openings at AIRA and other states/jurisdictions on the Employment Opportunities and Requests for Proposals page on the AIRA website.

 

Opportunities for independent contractors

 

To be notified of future contracting opportunities, please sign up here.

 


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