First Nations children have lower levels of immunization despite higher rates of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases. This long-standing public health disparity is a result of inefficient and incomplete paper-based management of childhood immunization records.
The Community Health and Immunization Program (CHIP) is a comprehensive, affordable, and easy to implement solution designed by OKAKI for First Nations community health centres in Alberta. CHIP was designed with a deep understanding of the needs of all key stakeholders, including front-line staff delivering vaccinations, community health program managers, and public health authorities and policy makers. Immunization program staff who have never previously used electronic health records are able to adopt this digital system for significant program impact within a few weeks.
Cybera contributed to the development and launch of CHIP. The system went live in the Stoney and Siksika First Nation communities in September 2011, in time for the start of the school year and influenza season. Through further sponsorship from the international healthcare company Pfizer, the system expanded to include the Kehewin and Frog Lake First Nations. By January 2012, over 30,000 current and historical vaccination records were added to CHIP.
How CHIP affects you:
CHIP is a demonstration of how cyberinfrastructure can benefit communities — in this case, through improving public health programs. CHIP enables immediate, appropriate electronic sharing of records between all health centres that are using this system. Public health managers can rapidly measure the proportion of eligible First Nation residents who have received their vaccinations, and identify those who are overdue.
CHIP was the first system to communicate seamlessly with the provincial immunization registry, ensuring that a patient’s complete immunization history is immediately available when he or she visits a health centre. It also saves time for health practitioners that can be better used to deliver care.
All this ensures a safer and more effective vaccination program, more time spent delivering care, and improved public health in Alberta.
* To see more photos from Robin Winsor’s 2011 tour of the Stoney Health Centre, and the CHIP launch at Siksika Health Services, please click here. *