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AIRA Monthly Update July 2021

 

Monthly Update

July 2021 in Review

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In This Issue…

  1. AIRA's COVID-19 Response and Executive Director's Update
  2. Welcome New Staff to AIRA
  3. Harnessing Electronic Clinical Data to Report Adult and Prenatal Immunization Quality Measures
  4. Standards and Analytics TA Corner
  5. Measurement and Improvement Updates
  6. SmartyStreets Success Stories for Quarterly User Group
  7. Information Requests
  8. Committee and Workgroup Updates: July Recap
  9. AIRA Job Opportunities
  10. AIRA in the News - July 2021

Check Out the AIRA Events Calendar for Upcoming…


AIRA's COVID-19 Response Update and Executive Director's Update

Greetings,

We’re nearing the end of the dog days of summer, and before we know it, kids will be going back to school (if they haven’t already) and fall will be upon us. What a whirlwind this year has been. There’s a lot happening in the IIS world right now, and I know most of you are still busy working on pandemic response efforts.

One body of work I want to highlight regards documenting and sharing lessons learned from this pandemic. There are significant needs to document challenges and lessons learned, and to note additional guidance opportunities in an effort to avoid some of the pitfalls that we experienced during the current pandemic. AIRA, the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM), and other organizations are in the process of documenting lessons learned to reflect a broad spectrum of response activities and challenges. The hope is to make sure common themes are captured and reflected across the board, not in silos by organization.

AIRA is also working with AIM, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative on a project with the Office of the National Coordinator. The IDEAS (Immunization Data Exchange, Advancement, and Sharing) project is intended to improve and help increase data sharing capabilities between health information exchanges and IIS. Pilot sites have been identified to determine best practices and lessons learned. The workgroup will work with these jurisdictions to determine best practices. If your jurisdiction has been contacted to participate in interviews and focus groups, we encourage you to share your experiences and look forward to hearing your feedback.

AIRA has developed Vaccine Credentials: Context and Working Definitions for IIS. This guidance document will evolve and be updated as we continue to learn more about vaccine credentialing solutions.

We have been asked by many of you how each jurisdiction is responding to a multitude of requests for access to IIS data by consumers and partners. We are in the middle of updating our information about each jurisdiction and how each is providing access, and for what purposes. We will reach out via email and phone to confirm our understanding. We look forward to sharing the information back with all of you soon.

In late July, the House Health Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy & Commerce held a full committee markup on H.R. 550, the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act. This legislation was passed out of committee to the full House of Representatives. While we hoped there would be more included in the bill, we’re very happy it’s moving forward.

Lastly, a big thank you to everyone who was able to attend the AIRA 2021 National Meeting in person or virtually. We were so excited to see your faces, even if it was online, and get to interact with you again. This year’s meeting felt like the beginning of a return to normalcy, and your hard work and commitment, especially during the pandemic, has helped get us to this point. Thank you!

Rebecca Coyle, MSEd
Executive Director


Welcome New Staff to AIRA

We are very excited to introduce two new AIRA staff members!

Amber Buckland joined AIRA in June 2021 as an administrative assistant. Prior to this role, she worked for the Missouri Public School Retirement System (PSRS) for five years as a business continuity planner and administrative assistant to the executive office and the board. While at PSRS, she worked on disaster planning and state legislation and oversaw board elections and events. Prior to this, Amber was a legal assistant and special assistant to the director’s office at the Missouri Department of Agriculture for 10 years where she worked on legislation, drafted state rules and statutes, and planned multiple statewide events for public outreach and education.

Jody Schweitzer joined AIRA as a program manager in July 2021. Prior to this role, Jody worked for the Kentucky Immunization Program for nine years, first as the AFIX/IQIP Coordinator and Immunization Registry Coordinator, and most recently as the Immunization Data and Surveillance Section Manager. Before joining the Kentucky Immunization Program, Jody worked for 10 years as an infectious disease epidemiologist for the states of Georgia and New Hampshire.


Harnessing Electronic Clinical Data to Report Adult and Prenatal Immunization Quality Measures

Quality measures are tools for understanding the performance of the health care system on important dimensions of care and can promote adherence to evidence-based practices. Health plan data submitted in 2018 that reported two new HEDIS measures was analyzed along with the number of plans reporting a valid performance rate and electronic data source used. Quality measure reporting that encourages connection to electronic data sources (including IIS) is a step forward in performance monitoring and improvement. The use of electronic sources may advance health information exchange for patient care. The results and conclusions of this analysis can be found in the article, “Harnessing Electronic Clinical Data to Report Adult and Prenatal Immunization Quality Measures” in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. This article explores the use of health plan quality measures specified for electronic clinical data to monitor immunizations.


Standards and Analytics TA Corner

The AIRA Standards and Analytics Team responds to technical assistance requests submitted by the IIS community. Here a few of the hot topics from the past month that may be helpful to your work.

QR codes in IIS
Some jurisdictions have fielded requests for COVID-19 vaccination records that include a QR code for international travel. There is currently no national guidance on developing or implementing these records. AIRA released Vaccine Credentials: Context and Working Definitions for IIS, which includes helpful information. A community information request on this subject from Tennessee also yielded responses from jurisdictions and vendors, and they can be found in the AIRA repository. Another resource is the Vaccine Credential Initiative, a collective of organizations working on developing digital and paper versions of verifiable clinical information. We look forward to an upcoming Standards & Interoperability Steering Committee workgroup meeting to develop guidance on a PDF QR code to be added to printed immunization records. Please contact Assiatou Diallo if you want to participate in this workgroup.

Consumer access
A few jurisdictions have inquired about providing consumers access to their immunization records. There is currently no national guidance on developing or implementing these records. AIRA released Vaccine Credentials: Context and Working Definitions for IIS, which includes helpful information. A recent community information request on this subject received response from eight jurisdictions on their plans for providing access to their consumers. Find responses to this information request in the AIRA repository.

Clinical trials
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance on what conditions must be met to record clinical trial vaccinations in jurisdictional IIS. This guidance is available on the Immunization Services Division All-Awardee SharePoint site.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for technical assistance. We can quickly answer a question or dive deeper into topics, such as helping you and your IIS technical development team better understand issues and make plans to more fully align with standards. Fill out a Technical Assistance Request or contact Kristi Siahaya for more information.


Measurement and Improvement Updates

IIS validation improvements
As the IIS community tackled all the demands of the pandemic, we also managed to make significant strides in alignment with national standards. As seen in dark blue in the maps below, IIS Validation in all four content areas has increased from 11 IIS in 2020 to 19 in 2021! The four content areas include Transport, Submission/Acknowledgement, Query/Response, and Clinical Decision Support (CDS).

We appreciate all your hard work over the last year. The improvements across the IIS community are astounding! This work continues to move our community forward in advancing public health and IIS through improvements in interoperability, data quality and sharing, and CDS.

2020 IIS validation

2021 IIS validation

Updated reports
2021 second quarter individual IIS Assessment and Validation reports are now available and can be found by logging into AART. Updated aggregate Assessment and the 2021 first quarter Validation reports are published in the AIRA repository.

Have questions or need help? AIRA’s technical assistance team is ready to help you understand your AART dashboard and results, prioritize work, and support your movement toward better alignment with standards. Don’t hesitate to contact us for technical assistance. We can quickly answer a question or dive deeper into topics, such as assisting you and your IIS technical development team with better understanding of issues and making plans to more fully align with standards. Fill out a Technical Assistance Request or contact Kristi Siahaya for more information.


SmartyStreets Success Stories for Quarterly User Group

The SmartyStreets User Group is a forum that brings together members from the IIS community who implement and use SmartyStreets, as well as IIS interested in adopting SmartyStreets as a data quality intervention. We are looking for jurisdictions willing to share how SmartyStreets has impacted IIS operations. Is your IIS using SmartyStreets to complete a project? Is your IIS using SmartyStreets in your analysis of COVID-19 data? We would love to hear from you!

Our last two 2021 user group meetings are in September and November. If you are interested in presenting during one of our upcoming meetings, please email Tesha Lucas.


Information Requests

AIRA members can submit and review information requests—a circulation of questions to and answers from the community. Recent information requests on the topics below can be found by using the “Information Requests” filter in the AIRA repository.

  • Handling IIS Opt-Outs
  • Onboarding Long-Term Care Facilities
  • QR Codes

Information requests are viewable only by individual members and individuals affiliated with member and partner organizations. Just log in to view these valuable resources! If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Committee and Workgroup Updates: July Recap

HL7 Immunization User Group

  • The HL7 Immunization User Group met on July 8 and reviewed its updated charter.
  • Kevin Snow from Envision Technology Partners and Nathan Bunker discussed AIRA 2021 National Meeting prep for their consumer access and IZ Gateway presentations.
  • The user group will not meet in August. The next user group meeting is September 9, 2021, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET.

Measurement for Assessment and Certification Advisory Workgroup (MACAW)

  • MACAW held a Town Hall on July 15.
  • Eric Larson gave a presentation on incoming/ongoing data quality validation.
  • Assiatou Diallo presented "Data at Rest" and provider participation highlights.

Modeling of Immunization Registry Operation Workgroup (MIROW) Steering Committee

Standards & Interoperability Steering Committee (SISC)

  • The SISC met on July 14.
  • Mary Beth Kurilo gave updates about the AIRA 2021 National Meeting and the HIMSS21 Global Health Conference & Exhibition.
  • The SISC received an update about the HL7 User Group from Nathan Bunker.
  • The committee responded to questions about various test scenarios regarding Immunization Integration Program multiple match to query.
  • Eric Larson recapped clinical trial updates.
  • The next committee meeting is August 11, 2021, from 1 to 2 p.m. ET.

Tableau User Group (TUG)

  • TUG met on July 27.
  • Jake Kohler from Lovelytics gave a Tableau mapping functionality demo using sample COVID-19 case data from Tennessee. Jake gave some guidance on how to review and understand data prior to importing into Tableau.
  • The August TUG meeting is canceled. The next user group meeting is September 28 from noon to 1 p.m. ET.
  • It’s not too late to join TUG! Please email Courtnay Londo.
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

Current opportunities at AIRA
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.

There are no opportunities at this time.

Opportunities for independent contractors
To be notified of future contracting opportunities, please sign up here.

There are no opportunities at this time.


AIRA in the News - July 2021

Here’s what’s going on with Tarrant County’s COVID-19 vaccine numbers, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 16 | Quoted: Mary Beth Kurilo

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