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Docs' Input Sought for Survey on Two-dimensional Vaccine Bar Codes
Alternative Technology Could Facilitate Adverse Event Reporting
By News Staff
The question is, will physicians be willing to invest in the technology required to implement such a system? To find out, RTI International -- a not-for-profit research organization under contract with the CDC -- is surveying primary care physicians about their use of EHRs and other computer systems, vaccines they provide, and vaccination reporting patterns. Physicians who take the 10-minute, online survey through May 27 will be entered in a drawing to win one of 10 Apple iPads.
The FDA said in draft guidance issued to vaccine manufacturers in August 2010 that the agency thinks health care providers may wish to invest in the technology, which would require a hand-held or tabletop scanner, because it could allow them to address NCVIA reporting requirements more effectively. Those requirements dictate that the following information be recorded in a vaccine recipient's permanent medical record or in a permanent office log or file:
- the date the vaccine was administered,
- the manufacturer of the vaccine,
- the lot number of the vaccine, and
- the name, address and title of the person administering the vaccine.
"In addition, clerical recording errors can diminish the value of information available for mandatory adverse event reporting. Furthermore, inaccurate recording of a lot number may delay or misdirect FDA's investigation of an adverse event."
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Immunization Managers, or AIM, have advocated for years that two-dimensional bar codes be implemented. In comments (2-page PDF; About PDFs) it provided to the FDA last November, AIM said data matrix bar coding would improve the efficiency of vaccine ordering and inventory management in addition to reducing providers' reporting burden and the potential for errors.
If the new bar codes are implemented by vaccine manufacturers, physicians who do not use an EHR will not have to change their recording practices because the required information still will be printed on vaccine labels, the CDC said.