Integrating care records to understand the vaccination status of young people in hospital

My Topol fellowship problem / project:

Vaccines are one of the great global public health successes. However, levels of routine vaccination amongst children and young people (CYP) are lower than they could be, leaving populations susceptible to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles.

National guidance recommends that the vaccination status of any child or young person is checked at every available opportunity (e.g. at an interaction with a doctor or nurse in the Paediatric Emergency Department, (PED)). This is especially important for certain sub-populations of CYP; for example, those in care or who may be new to the NHS vaccination schedule.

If under-vaccinated CYP could be identified easily in the PED, then they could be offered a suitable intervention; for example,j signposting to existing vaccination services or being given a vaccine whilst in the department. At the moment, it is not possible for hospital staff to access accurate information about vaccination as these data are held in GP records, which can’t be accessed easily from within hospital computer systems. The two computer systems (hospital and GP) don’t ‘talk’ to each other, so during my Topol Fellowship I am going to explore solutions to this problem.

I will focus on creating a set of recommendations for delivery of a system that flags up whether or not a child/young person attending a PED is up-to-date with their age-appropriate routine vaccinations, so that we can offer an intervention if appropriate.

I am a Consultant in Paediatric Public Health Medicine working in a Paediatric Emergency Department in Greater Manchester and Professor of Medicine at Lancaster Medical School. I graduated from the University of Oxford in 2003 and moved back to the North West for postgraduate training in paediatrics and public health. My research looks at embedding public health interventions in routine hospital consultations for children and young people and I am new to the area of digital health.