The electronic health record vendor Epic said its vaccine credential technology is now available to 25 million individuals through their MyChart account.
“Once we got buy-in, we went up to 25 million over the course of four weeks,” Nick Frenzer, implementation executive at Epic, told Healthcare IT News.
“We’re really excited about this project – we need all the tools we can get right now,” said Frenzer.
WHY IT MATTERS
Epic is a founding member of the Vaccine Credential Initiative, which has been working for months to develop technology aimed at making it easier for users to share their COVID-19 vaccination records.
As Frenzer said, although the technology has been at hand since this summer, “states and other customers weren’t quite ready.”
Now, he says, millions of MyChart users can access the credential through their account.
If MyChart does not have a patient’s vaccination information, the patient can use it to query connected state immunization registries to obtain vaccination information, which will then be verified by a provider.
The credential is built using VCI’s SMART Health Card framework, allowing businesses to verify it regardless of which vendor created it. VCI also includes other EHR vendors, such as Cerner, Allscripts, athenahealth, DrChrono and MEDITECH.
Patients at systems that aren’t participating, or that don’t use participating EHRs, may also be able to get a credential through their state, depending on location.
“I’m glad there’s a standard we’re all rallying around,” said Frenzer, who estimates that 70 million to 80 million people will be using the Epic-generated credential by the end of the year. He says that the technology is secure – other publications have even included his own specific QR code in news stories – and interoperable.
And, he said, it won’t just be limited to COVID-19 response: “This can be about polio vaccines, or another piece of discrete information.”
THE LARGER TREND
Momentum around vaccine credentials has been steadily accelerating as the COVID-19 vaccine has become more widely available.
In August, the Commons Project announced that it had released a free vaccine verification app, aimed at allowing small businesses, schools, sporting arenas and other organizations to quickly determine the validity of Health Cards.
And just this past week, Apple announced that it would allow users to add vaccination cards to the Wallet as part of its iOS 15 update.
ON THE RECORD
“Epic’s MyChart empowers a patient by giving them access to their vaccination information through seamless interoperability between the patient’s healthcare provider and the public health vaccine registry system,” said Epic representatives in a statement.