Improving vaccine and immunization management: ImmReg, the Digital Immunization Registry
With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UN Foundation, PATH has been working with Vietnam’s National Expanded Immunization Program (NEPI) to improve immunization rates for women and young children through the introduction of a Digital Immunization Registry, known as ImmReg, since 2011. After a successful pilot in Ben Tre Province, we are now supporting NEPI to scale up this system nationwide, with support from GSK and Save the Children through a Healthcare Innovation Award.
Current immunization registries and reporting systems are paper based. Staff at local Commune Health Centers (CHCs) use paper ledgers to track doses, develop lists of individuals due for vaccination, and report to higher-level officials. These systems are time-consuming and prone to error. Data inaccuracies create barriers to effective management of vaccine stocks and cause delays, leaving pregnant women and children at risk of contracting vaccine-preventable disease.
ImmReg is enabling faster and more efficient management of individual immunization records and vaccine delivery. Using unique software designed by PATH, workers can now generate lists of people due for vaccinations and reports for system managers with a web-based application that is accessible on CHC-based computers and smartphones. ImmReg generates lists of people due for vaccinations on immunization day and automatically sends clients SMS text reminders to their mobile phones. Health center workers then enter data on doses delivered on immunization day, and ImmReg automatically generates immunization reports, which higher-level health care managers can access in real time.
- Efficient: automatically generates reports, freeing staff to spend time on patient care instead of paperwork.
- Accurate: reduces human error by eliminating the need for handwritten lists and manual calculations.
- Effective: increases on-time vaccinations by more than 20 percent, according to findings of an evaluation of ImmReg across Ben Tre Province.
Prior to implementation of ImmReg, many frontline workers in Ben Tre’s CHCs had never used computers. Robust training and peer support have been critical to ensure success. PATH is supporting “Training of Trainers” workshops for personnel at regional, provincial, and district levels to ensure that technical support and training capacity are embedded within existing local health authorities.
After the success in Ben Tre Province, preparations are now underway for scaling up ImmReg nationwide, as part of the government-led National Immunization Information System. National-, regional-, and provincial-level trainers are currently being trained on implementing the system in their localities, ready to begin rolling out the system in the first half of 2017.
For more information about ImmReg, contact Dr. Nguyen Tuyet Nga, Vietnam Program Team Leader, at firstname.lastname@example.org.