Apps for immunization: Leveraging mobile devices to place the individual at the center of care

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Published
2015
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Mobile technology and applications (apps) have disrupted several industries including healthcare. The advantage of apps, being personally focused and permitting bidirectional communication, make them well suited to address many immunization challenges. As of April 25, 2015 searching the Android app store with the words 'immunize app' and 'immunization app' in Canada yielded 225 apps. On the Apple App Store a similar search produced 98 results. These include apps that provide immunization related information, permit vaccine tracking both for individuals and for animals, assist with the creation of customized schedules and identification of vaccine clinics and serve as sources of education. The diverse functionality of mobile apps creates the potential for transformation of immunization practice both at a personal level and a system level. For individuals, mobile apps offer the opportunity for better record keeping, assistance with the logistics of vaccination, and novel ways of communicating with and receiving information from public health officials. For the system, mobile apps offer the potential to improve the quality of information residing in immunization information systems and program evaluation, facilitate harmonization of immunization information between individuals, health care providers and public health as well as reduce vaccine hesitancy. As mobile technology continues to rapidly evolve there will emerge new ways in which apps can enhance immunization practice.