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Epic, Cerner, Health IT Vendors Form Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Coalition


By Christopher Jason

– Several health IT vendors, organizations, and stakeholders, including Epic and Cerner, announced the formation of the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI), which aims to give individuals digital access to their COVID-19 vaccination records.

The VCI is made up of CARIN Alliance, Cerner, Change Healthcare, The Commons Project Foundation, Epic Systems, Evernorth, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, MITRE, Oracle, Safe Health, and Salesforce.

The group is currently developing a standard model for health organizations administering the COVID-19 vaccine. The effort is designed to make the results available to individuals in an interoperable and accessible digital format.

Currently, the current digitized vaccination record system does not streamline the control, distribution, or access to vaccination records.

“A secure, convenient solution to verify COVID-19 vaccination will play an important role in accelerating a healthy and safe return to work, school and life in general,” Joan Harvey, president of care solutions at Evernorth, Cigna’s health services business, said in a statement.

To achieve this goal of digitalization, VCI members are utilizing open, interoperable SMART Health Cards specification, based on W3C Verifiable Credential and HL7 FHIR standards, the coalition explained. The goal is to store this patient immunization data in digital wallets.

Individuals without smartphones would be able to obtain a printed paper with QR codes to obtain credentials, according to the coalition.

To David Bradshaw, senior vice president of Consumer and Employer Solutions at Cerner, the initiative will help improve data exchange standards, while supporting patients the ability to easily access and share “verified vaccination information via their mobile device in situations where proof-of-vaccine is necessary.”

The coalition is working together to develop a safe and secure way for individuals to access their COVID-19 vaccination records. Digitalizing these documents can enhance patient matching and expedite the time it will take for individuals to return to work, school, traveling, and extracurricular activities.

“As we explore the many use cases for the vaccination credential, we are working to ensure that underserved populations have access to this verification,” said Brian Anderson, MD, chief digital health physician at MITRE, in a statement. “Just as COVID-19 does not discriminate based on socio-economic status, we must ensure that convenient access to records crosses the digital divide.”

“As the world begins to recover from the pandemic, having electronic access to vaccination, testing, and other medical records will be vital to resuming travel and more,” said Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle’s Global Business Units, in a statement. “This process needs to be as easy as online banking. We are committed to working collectively with the technology and medical communities, as well as global governments, to ensure people will have secure access to this information where and when they need it.”

The initiative comes on the heels of several EHR vendor collaborations, including Cerner and MEDITECH, which recently developed an EHR-integrated COVID-19 vaccination solution for their respective customers.

Truman Medical Centers and University Health in Missouri integrated Cerner’s solution last month. Truman was one of the first 150 hospitals across the country to receive and successfully deploy the vaccine and the health system had to successfully optimize its EHR workflow to send its test results to the state’s reporting program.

“We looked to Cerner as a partner because they had a playbook for mass vaccination that was previously utilized at a couple of test sites,” Heather Gleason, senior director IT applications at Truman Medical, said in an interview with EHRIntelligence. “We wanted to integrate ‘smart technology’ to make sure that we can get people quickly in and out of the vaccination process.”



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