Barriers exist to using automated patient immunization reminders in electronic health records, according to a study published this week in the journal BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, FierceHealthIT reports.
For the study, researchers examined reports and articles published between 1990 and 2011 (Bird, FierceHealthIT, 12/18).
The study found that while most electronic reminders improved immunization rates, some health care providers were not equipped to use the technology (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 12/18).
According to the study, limited financial and human resources were barriers to tracking paper immunization records and obtaining technical assistance to use EHRs to capture information and send reminders.
Other barriers included:
- Concern that electronic reminders that appear during a patient visit can add to physician overload and cause some doctors to ignore the messages;
- Different expectations about the value of immunizations for various populations and about who is responsible for reminding patients about needed immunizations;
- Lack of reliable immunization records, patient contact information and integrated systems to enable data-sharing between multiple providers;
- Privacy concerns; and
- Questions about the accuracy of reminder algorithms used by various EHR systems.
The researchers said that a single regional immunization registry would help coordinate records between different health care providers and reduce the risk of patients receiving too many immunizations (FierceHealthIT, 12/18).
They added that increased adoption of EHRs likely will lead to more complete immunization data (EHR Intelligence, 12/18).