Phone apps could supplement teen jab records, DH advisers say

Adolescent vaccination records are not fit for purpose and may need to be supported by patient-held smartphone apps and other electronic records, DH advisers have said.

Mobile phone apps: could help track teens' health

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that improvements needed to be made to the way child immunisation records are compiled through Child Health Information Systems (CHIS).

‘There is little consistency in their functionality and the way they are used,’ the JCVI’s subcommittee on adolescent vaccinations said in the minutes of its latest meeting. ‘In some areas records are not maintained beyond five years of age or may even be destroyed.'

‘Until improvements are made to these systems and their maintenance and use, data will continue to be of poor quality and not fit for purpose to monitor adolescent vaccination programmes,' it said.

The subcommittee added: ‘Patient held records, including electronic records (eg, as a phone application) to supplement CHIS and GP records could be extremely beneficial.’

A DH working group has been established to support the transition of CHIS through the NHS restructuring and to define systems needed to support immunisation.

The JCVI subcomittee made a series of recommendations about adolescent immunisation at its meeting.

It said that meningitis booster vaccines for adolescents should be introduced 'as soon as practicable' to counter falling immunity after the end of an under-25 catch-up programme. The subcommittee also warned that mumps cases may begin to surge this autumn as the dip in MMR uptake in the 1990s begins to affect levels of protection in the population.

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