As a critical component of preparing your students to participate in clinical rotation and residency programs, you work with a range of providers to collect and share student immunization records. However, given your compliance obligations and the variation in requirements from different hospitals and health systems, immunization record management can be challenging.

The clinical rotation and residency programs attended by your students rely on timely and accurate student immunization data, making it critical for you to obtain, report, and track immunization histories efficiently. But this is not always easy. Not only are there differences in medical program immunization requirements, but there are also variations in the vaccinations students have received (or not). For example, a survey conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NIFD) revealed only 46 percent of college students receive an annual flu vaccine, one of the vaccinations often required by student residency and rotational programs.  

Depending on the student and the clinical program he or she is attending, you will have many different kinds of follow-up and health data to collect and track. Therefore, efficiency in your immunization management program is paramount to making sure your students are adequately prepared and have all immunization information submitted promptly. Here are some ideas for building efficiency into your immunization records management program.

4 Steps to Increasing Efficiency in Your Immunization Management Program

Your educational institution is no stranger to handling large amounts of student data, often related to enrollments, housing assignments, tuition payments, and more. Efficiently managing student health information makes a difference not only to your ability to keep track of student preparedness for ongoing medical training, but it also helps you reduce errors and quickly address follow-up items. Follow these four steps to increase efficiency in your immunization records management program.

1. Set a clear and well-communicated policy and schedule 

An essential part of an efficient program is a clear description of immunization requirements and deadlines. Not all students have the same “baseline” immunizations, and some may have to schedule many vaccinations to meet the requirements of their clinical or residency program. As a result, it’s a good idea to give students a broad enrollment window of 60-90 days to submit their immunization records and, where necessary, to go for additional vaccinations and testing. You’ll also need to provide clear instructions for retesting and the process for follow-up immunizations and boosters.

Since the documents required by healthcare organizations may not be limited to immunization histories, you’ll also need to give students a list of other documents they may need to provide, for example:

  • Health and medical examination reports
  • Identification documents such as a photo and driver’s license
  • Medical waivers
  • Authorization forms and confidentiality agreements

2. Work with a reputable immunization management vendor

With a trusted immunization compliance management partner, you can improve communications with students and healthcare organizations, and you can track student health information with fewer errors and overlooked requirements. Some of the services you should expect from your immunization records management partner include:

  • Automation technology
  • Support for compliant workflows
  • Guidance from qualified healthcare professionals, trained to interpret medical records and testing results
  • Periodic reviews of your program and recommendations for improvements 
  • Additional services to help you address other student screening or compliance needs, such as background checks or drug testing

3. Use the right technology

According to a survey conducted by a team of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers, as recently as 2013, nearly half of schools tracked student immunization using paper medical records. To save time and reduce manual data entry, reduce your reliance on paper records and use a secure, cloud-based application to store student health information and automate communication. Immunization management technology includes features such as:

  •  24/7 anywhere access to student immunization data
  • Messaging tools to help you request and track student health information in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Easy navigation with a modern design
  • Scalable solutions that adapt to variations in the number of students and affiliated healthcare organizations you work with
  • Automated 30, 60, and 90-day requirement reminders

4. Seek available integrations 

Integration helps you cut down on double-entry and can even reduce the amount of information students need to submit. For example, when your immunization records system integrates with rotation management systems, your student information seamlessly flows directly to designated clinical and rotation systems, in compliance with HIPAA requirements and without your manual intervention. In addition, integration with state immunization registries which can extract a good portion of student health information directly from the state, which cuts down on the amount of historical health information students have to track down.

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Benefits of Efficiency in Immunization Records Management

When your immunization management system becomes more efficient, you can keep better track of health information and improve communications between students, allied health programs, and your institution. Efficient immunization record management not only saves you time and keeps you organized, but it also delivers benefits to students as well. With greater efficiency in your immunization records management program, you can expect the following benefits.

Avoid participation delays 

Students who don’t get their immunizations completed and submitted to clinical or residency programs on time can experience delays in participation. With an efficient immunization management program, you stay on top of key due dates and make timely notifications so students know when they need to submit missing information or need to get additional vaccinations or boosters.

A better understanding of varying program requirements

Whether you have dozens or hundreds of students entering clinical programs, they’re likely not all participating in the same residency or rotational program. Each health system has its own set of immunization requirements and related documents you need to submit, and you need a system for keeping track of those varying requirements. When you have a program in place to help you distinguish between the forms, vaccinations, and related documents your students must submit, you’re in a better position to avoid surprises and last-minute scrambles for health information. 

Accurate and accessible data 

When you’re dealing with large amounts of student health information, there’s almost nothing more disconcerting than losing data or experiencing issues trying to access the information you know you possess. Immunization management technology helps you keep better track of the data you already have and accurately categorizes incoming health information, so there’s less likelihood of errors.

Better HIPAA compliance

HIPAA rules require safeguards to protect student health information, including secure communication channels for sharing health information. When you work with an immunization compliance partner who understands and adheres to all HIPAA requirements, you can be sure to avoid compliance missteps, including:

  • Keeping unsecured health records
  • Sharing health information via unencrypted channels
  • Releasing student health information to unauthorized individuals

Shorter response times 

Responsive technology helps you fulfill data requests and answer questions faster. When you move from spreadsheets or outdated technology to a solution designed to increase efficiency and improve immunization management workflows, you have quicker access to information and can turn around requests in a shorter time frame.

Manage Student Immunization Requirements with Ease

Manually tracking student immunization data only makes your work harder. It also increases the likelihood of delays and errors. When you use available tools and resources to improve efficiency in immunization program activities, you can build more compliance into your program. You can also make sure your students don’t miss a beat when preparing for upcoming clinical rotation and residency programs.  

In partnership with Medicat, the leader in college electronic health record management, ImmuniTrax™ is just the solution to help you improve the efficiency of your program and keep it operating seamlessly year after year.

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