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October 2021 Monthly Update

 


Monthly Update

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October 2021 in Review

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Question of the Month: Calling All Learners

We need your help! AIRA wants to create useful tools and resources for you, but first we need to know how you like to learn.
Will you take a minute to answer three quick questions?


 

 

Executive Director's Update

Greetings,

A lot has happened over the last month regarding COVID-19 vaccines. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met in late October and voted to approve booster doses of Moderna and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines, which will open the door for millions more Americans to get added protection against the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also endorsed mixing and matching booster doses, so people eligible for a booster dose will be able to pick whichever vaccine they want.

 

The Moderna vaccine booster has been approved as a half-dose, which we recognize has significant impacts on IIS. AIRA has shared our concerns with the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee and the ACIP, and we’re part of a leadership council led by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the American Public Health Association that’s working on a letter outlining the impacts and challenges a half-dose booster will have on IIS and other systems.

 

The AIRA Standards & Interoperability Steering Committee (SISC) is looking for ways to capture clinical trial data in IIS. Work is already underway across the country to get this data in IIS and at least one state is mandated to do so. The SISC is working with vaccine manufacturers to compile guidance and put together a guidance document to be shared at a later date.

 

SMART Health Cards continue to be a hot topic and have become the de facto standard for digital vaccination records in the United States and globally. I recently spoke at the SMART Health Cards Global Forum about AIRA’s perspective on the importance of the SMART Health Card standard and its role for the future of data interoperability. AIRA recently issued a statement in support of SMART Health Cards as a standard recognizing that each state or jurisdiction will need to come up with its own policies for implementing and using SMART Health Cards.

 

You’re probably aware of new vendors out there creating and selling technology to help employers validate employee vaccination status. Many states have laws that prohibit employers from using IIS to access this information. AIRA is speaking with these vendors as we become aware of them to determine their strategies and how they may interact with IIS. If you’re approached by vendors for this purpose, please let us know so we can reach out.

 

I’m excited to share that the AIRA Interoperability Training Course started on November 3. This course is composed of a series of modules and is intended to orient public health professionals in the IIS community toward interoperability concepts. The first module, Connecting Systems, is being led by Nathan Bunker, AIRA’s Senior Technology Project Manager, who will teach the essential theory of how computer systems connect. We hope to offer other courses in the future, so keep your eyes open for these opportunities.

 

As always, thank you for your hard work and dedication to immunizations and IIS in the ever-changing and quickly evolving landscape that has become our new normal. Please let us know if there are ways in which we can support you.

 

Rebecca Coyle, MSEd

Executive Director


 



Welcome New Staff to AIRA

We’re excited to introduce a new AIRA staff member!

 

Julie Tchoumkeu joined AIRA as a technical assistance analyst in October 2021. Prior to AIRA, Julie worked for the Iowa Department of Public Health, first as the Refugee Health Manager, then as a data manager and quality improvement coordinator. Julie also has experience in refugee resettlement and in professional development curriculum design and delivery. Welcome, Julie!



 

AIRA Discovery Session: Immunization Information Systems Annual Report

Join us for the next AIRA Discovery Session on Monday, November 15, at 4 p.m. ET. This session will be an overview of the Immunization Information Systems Annual Report (IISAR). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the 2021 IISAR, which assesses immunization program performance in developing, maintaining, and enhancing IIS. The IISAR is part of the reporting requirement for the 64 immunization programs that receive funding under Section 317b of the Public Health Service Act. The report is due on March 31, 2022, and the performance period is calendar year 2021. The IISAR was revised in 2020 to align with the Data Quality Blueprint and blueprint milestones. This year’s report has updated expectations for reporting COVID-19 data. Register now.


 

Are You Using Power BI or Analyzing IIS Data? Read More About Two New AIRA Initiatives!

AIRA is excited to share two new initiatives coming in 2022: (1) a Power BI User Group and (2) an IIS Data Analyst Workgroup. We want to build a roster of interested individuals so, when the groups are launched, you are kept in the loop! Read the descriptions below and reach out to Courtnay Londo to be placed on a mailing list for future announcements.

 

Power BI User Group
Power BI is a business intelligence platform that allows you to connect to and visualize data. In this group, participants will engage in peer-to-peer sharing related to Power BI and other data visualization goals, successes, and challenges. Interested individuals from IIS and engaged IIS implementers are welcome to attend. No experience is needed.

 

IIS Data Analyst Workgroup
This group will support the onboarding, training, and advancement of data analysis skills among IIS data analysts. It will also be a network of peers to consult as needed. For this workgroup, an IIS data analyst is defined as any individual who extracts, analyzes, interprets, visualizes, or reports out IIS data. All IIS data analysts are invited to attend.


 

Don't Forget About AIRA's Epi and Data Visualization Support Office Hours

Could your jurisdiction benefit from additional epidemiological or data visualization support? Taylor Boomsma, AIRA’s Epidemiologist/Data Analyst, is available to help! Taylor started at AIRA in November 2020. She has experience with IIS coverage rate analysis, creating data quality reports, and visualizing data in Tableau. She also ran the Immunization Quality Improvement for Providers (IQIP) program in Tennessee.

 

Taylor offers office hours twice a week. IIS can participate in the office hours by calling or emailing Taylor. You don’t need to set up an appointment, as she has these hours blocked off each week for this purpose. She is also available by appointment, so reach out at any time to request support.

 

Office Hours:

  • Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to noon ET
  • Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. ET

If there is a data set we can help you analyze and visualize, email or call Taylor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202-975-0305.


 

Interjurisdictional Community of Practice Shifts Focus, Encourages More IIS to Join

AIRA, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are refocusing the Interjurisdictional Community of Practice (ICoP). This will provide a more useful venue for IIS program teams to share their implementation experiences with IIS-to-IIS exchange, including, but not limited to, exchange through the Immunization (IZ) Gateway.

 

The new meetings will be held monthly and quarterly at 1 p.m. ET on the first Monday of the month. These meetings will be an opportunity for IIS and immunization program staff to share lessons learned with their peers and community partners about the process and impacts of interjurisdictional exchange. The quarterly meetings are for all engaged parties, including technology partners. The monthly meetings will be held during the months in between the quarterly meetings for IIS-specific discussions.

 

General Quarterly Meetings

  • January 3, 2022
  • April 4, 2022
  • July 11, 2022 (moved for holiday)
  • October 3, 2022

Monthly Jurisdictional Meetings

  • December 6, 2021
  • February 7, 2022
  • March 7, 2022
  • May 2, 2022
  • June 6, 2022
  • August 1, 2022
  • September 12, 2022 (moved for holiday)
  • November 7, 2022
  • December 5, 2022

If you’re interested in attending the ICoP meetings, please email Rebecca Sandtveit. We hope you’ll join us!


 

Measurement and Improvement Updates

Data At Rest (DAR) Testing & Discovery now available

AIRA and members of the Measurement for Assessment and Certification Advisory Workgroup (MACAW) are excited to share Measurement and Improvement (M&I) Initiative updates that will be available soon in the Aggregate Analysis Reporting Tool (AART). DAR Testing & Discovery will be available for participation starting in November. This content area does require a deidentified data extract for reports to be generated. Data can be uploaded by using the “upload DAR file” link from the Testing & Discovery section of the AART dashboard. Until data are received, AART users will see the gray progress bar with the words “Report not available” as seen in the image below. Find more information about DAR on the AIRA website. Contact Assiatou Diallo if you have questions.



Unless an IIS states otherwise, AIRA and MACAW generally assume that IIS connecting with M&I through AART have a desire to broadly participate by being measured and sharing results. AART defaults to inclusion in measurement and sharing but provides control to admin users to set sharing settings as they choose. Admin users are encouraged to confirm their measurement and sharing settings. Log in to AART and click “settings” in the upper right-hand corner as shown in the image below. Find more information about measurement and sharing settings in the AIRA repository.



Updated reports

AIRA and MACAW will sunset the COVID-19 Standards Alignment report. The purpose of this report was to provide IIS programs with measures and test data related to IIS capabilities in preparation for the release of COVID-19 vaccine. This report is no longer relevant.

 

Have questions or need help? AIRA’s technical assistance team is ready to help you understand your Aggregate Analysis Reporting Tool dashboard and results, prioritize work, and support your movement toward better alignment with standards. Don’t hesitate to contact us for technical assistance. We can quickly answer a question or dive deeper into topics, such as assisting you and your IIS technical development team with better understanding of issues and making plans to more fully align with standards. Fill out a Technical Assistance Request or contact Shalena Prude for more information.


 

Astonishing Address Submissions for SmartyStreets

Over 200 million! That’s right, 238,712,601 addresses were submitted by IIS and cleansed and geocoded by SmartyStreets in the first three quarters of 2021. Forty jurisdictions and partners have signed a Partner Agreement to use SmartyStreets. This means, on average, 26,523,622 addresses were cleansed and geocoded each month.

 

SmartyStreets is able to clean and validate addresses, ensuring that they’re formatted in accordance with United States Postal Service standards.

 

SmartyStreets Addresses Cleansed, Quarters 1–3 2021



Want to learn more about what SmartyStreets offers? Need to understand how to use the service? We’re here to help! Find more information about address cleansing and geocoding on the Address Cleansing Service web page or contact Tesha Lucas to learn more about SmartyStreets.


 

 

Committee and Workgroup Updates: October Recap

HL7 Immunization User Group

  • The HL7 Immunization User Group met on October 14.
  • The user group got an update on the upcoming Interoperability Course.
  • They discussed COVID-19 data quality issues.
  • The next user group meeting is November 18, 2021, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET.

Measurement for Assessment and Certification Advisory Workgroup (MACAW)

  • MACAW met on October 14.
  • Eric Larson discussed the COVID-19 report.
  • The workgroup discussed the use of the Aggregate Analysis Reporting Tool for projects outside of Measurement and Improvement.
  • MACAW discussed the background and overview of the Summary Assessment for Measurement and Improvement.
  • The next MACAW meeting is November 11 from noon to 1 p.m. ET.

Modeling of Immunization Registry Operations Workgroup (MIROW)

Standards and Interoperability Steering Committee (SISC)

  • The SISC met on October 13 and October 27.
  • Paloma Hawry gave an update on code sets at both meetings.
  • The committee received an update about the HL7 User Group and SISC small groups from Nathan Bunker.
  • The committee discussed Public Health FHIR Accelerator at the meeting on October 13.
  • Epic presented on patient/provider query via personal health records.
  • Eric Larson gave updates on current guidance and activities for managing clinical trial vaccines at both meetings.
  • The next committee meeting is November 10, 2021, from 1 to 2 p.m. ET.

NOTE: Meeting minutes will capture only action items and decisions made. Recordings of the meetings can be obtained directly upon request by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 

AIRA Job Opportunities

Are you interested in working for AIRA or in the IIS community? Find current job openings at AIRA and other states/jurisdictions on the Employment Opportunities and Requests for Proposals page on the AIRA website.

  • There are no opportunities at this time.

Opportunities for independent contractors

Sign up to get notifications of future contracting opportunities.

  • There are no opportunities at this time.
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