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CA COVID-19 Vaccination Effort Gets Data Exchange Boost From API

California’s COVID-19 vaccine administration effort has integrated API technology to boost EHR data exchange between providers across the state.

California’s My Turn COVID-19 vaccination program has enlisted new assistance from an application programming interface (API) to improve EHR data exchange among providers.

California’s Third-Party Administrator, Blue Shield, partnered with the ambulatory-focused health IT vendor NextGen Healthcare to form a connection between California’s My Turn vaccination program and EHRs in clinics across the state.

The API technology allows clients to exchange patient data with other healthcare organizations directly within an integrated clinical workflow, eliminating duplicate data entries and improving data integrity.

As the state continues its vaccination efforts, the API will help healthcare organizations track COVID-19 vaccine administration, manage vaccine inventories, and adhere to government agency reporting requirements.

“Our team worked tirelessly to develop these technologies enabling clients to quickly integrate critical vaccine information into their EHR,” Robert Murry, MD, PhD, chief medical informatics officer for NextGen Healthcare, said in a press release.

“This new API demonstrates our commitment to helping providers navigate this complex process and we are proud to deliver this solution to seamlessly manage vaccine distribution,” he continued.

Most federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in the state use NextGen Healthcare’s API technology. These care sites for vulnerable populations will be able to use NextGen Healthcare’s data exchange technology to measure health equity more accurately as the statewide vaccination program pushes on.

Sean Folweiler, NextGen client and chief information officer for Valley Health, a Californian FQHC, noted that the API technology has helped healthcare organizations report COVID-19 metrics accurately.

“NextGen Healthcare has been a responsive and innovative technology partner who has worked quickly to address the unique and evolving reporting requirements of different states as they administer the COVID-19 vaccine,” Folweiler said in a press release.

Keck Medicine of USC, a Los Angeles area health system that includes three hospitals and more than 40 outpatient facilities, was one of the first health systems in the state to fully integrate the My Turn Vaccine Scheduling System into its EHR.

“Our administration was highly supportive of the My Turn initiative and the premise behind it, which is health equity,” Malseed said in an interview with EHRIntelligence at the time of the announcement.

“In the beginning, it took numerous resources to identify a vaccination solution or website that had available appointments,” Malseed continued. “This way via the My Turn website, users saw the vast majority of sites that were available to do vaccinations in one consolidated location.”

Keck and Cerner health IT professionals integrated the API solution to alleviate administrative and patient burden.

“We worked through the integration to be able to show when we have vaccination availability with the My Turn website because the state developed an actual API to show when providers have availability,” Malseed explained.

“Our EHR vendor did not have the state’s scheduling solution pre-built in, that would have been impossible, so as the liaison between the state and the EHR vendor, we managed to get the state's representatives, as well as the EHR vendor on the phone,” Malseed continued.

Malseed said the API integration expanded Keck’s previous population base and allowed the healthcare organization to reach further into the community than it had ever before, broadening vaccine administration.

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