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California to Launch Immunization-Messaging Portal in August

July 19, 2013
by David Raths
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State’s HIE association building trust framework

In August 2013, the California Department of Public Health will launch an immunization-messaging portal that it says will help providers qualify for meaningful use incentive payments.

To qualify for meaningful use payments, immunization information will need to be submitted in HL7 format from a certified EHR.

The portal will allow providers to:

  • Register with the California Immunization Registry (CAIR) and receive IDs and passwords necessary for submitting immunization information to CAIR;
  • Submit test HL7 messages for validation and meaningful use attestation; and
  • Complete all follow-up testing necessary to qualify for ongoing data submission to CAIR.

In Stage 1, providers and hospitals were required to meet at least one public health objective from the menu set of objectives. These include electronic submission of immunization data, reportable laboratory results, or syndromic surveillance data to the public health division. For meaningful use Stage 2, which begins for some hospitals on Oct. 1 and some physician offices on Jan. 1, 2014, registration at the CAIR portal is required and data submission must begin within 60 days of the start of Stage 2. (Providers in Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Imperial, Mariposa, Merced, San Diego, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne counties will not be able to use the portal because their regional registries are not yet participating.) Providers in those areas can go to for more data exchange information. 

The immunization registry reminds providers that if they submitted immunization test messages in 2012 but have not achieved ongoing submission to a registry, they will need to submit an additional test message in 2013 to qualify for 2013 incentive payments. 

In other news from the Golden State, the California Association of Health Information Exchanges (CAHIE) made a presentation about its efforts to build a trust framework between HIEs in the state. In a July 18 webinar presentation, David Minch, president and chief operating officer of HealthShare Bay Area and one of CAHIE’s leaders, said the organization wants to make sure it has everybody exchanging health data in California, whether private or public health information organizations. “By building a trust bridge, we want to make sure we functionally eliminate the white spaces in California—areas where HIE does not exist,” he said.

CAHIE is building a lightweight, self-governing organization built on volunteers contributing their efforts. “Our vision is to build a trust framework based on national standards and protocols and to create pathways to ensure all providers can connect to and use Direct and e-health exchange protocols to send data and query for data within California and eventually to organizations across the country,” Minch said.

If a national network grows and becomes easy to join, California may not need a separate trust network. But Minch said that may take several years to develop. “We are building a California trust network because we want to get everybody on-boarded in the short term as quickly as possible.”