Registry for shots online

Registry for shots online

World Health Organization statistics show that 96 percent of U.S. children receive vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles and polio by the age of 4. But San Diego County officials say that in some pockets of the county, 22 percent of preschool age children are underimmunized, overimmunized or not immunized at all.

During the first two years, children should receive about 20 immunizations, said Nahid Rastakhiz, technical manager of San Diego County's immunization registry. 'But parents often think they are up to date with the child's immunizations, and they're not. Families move around, go to different doctors and lose track of vaccination records,' she said.

To shoot or not to shoot

But now the county is developing a prototype Web version of the immunization registry that will be able to pull together medical histories from several medical providers.

The Web registry stores the data in an Oracle8i database. Software Partners LLC of Encinitas, Calif., developed the software for the Web registry called MatchMerge. The county also used GDPro, a software design tool from Embarcadero Technologies Inc. of San Francisco.

Once the Web registry is up and running, about 200 county health officials will be able to access the data using Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0.

The Web site will be secured with a series of firewalls and passwords, said Alean Kirnak, president of Software Partners. 'Parents will have the option of choosing that their child's record not be shared with anyone else,' she said.

The Web registry will also provide parents with a 'vaccine forecast,' Kirnak said. 'Based on a child's records, the system can tell when the next vaccine is due. It can tell who is due for a booster, and who is overdue.' Parents will then be mailed a notice that their child is due for a vaccine.

The registry will use WebLogic 6.1 Web server from BEA Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., which includes middleware to connect with the database.

The system was developed on a Microsoft Windows NT platform, but the Web interface was developed in platform-independent Java Server Pages and JavaScript and, as a result, will run on just about any platform, said Chris Franklin, project manager for Software Partners.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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