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Item-Level Serialization Could Assist EHR during Vaccine Rationing

October 28, 2009 – 11:47 am

I knew it would happen. People are panicking about the H1N1 flu.

Yesterday The New York Times reported that people lining up at flu shot clinics are lying about underlying medical conditions so they can qualify for the rationed doses. “Some reduce themselves to lying about a pregnancy, or an underlying medical condition, that would move them ahead of the pack,” the Times reported.

In Los Angeles, a huge turnout for a county-organized clinic overwhelmed local law enforcement as traffic built up. Would-be patients given wristbands waited in car lines that wrapped around neighborhoods, angering other motorists, reported The Daily Breeze.

While still considered pandemic, H1N1 has not (yet) reached epic proportions. Can you imagine what crowds would amass if it did?

I wonder whether electronic health records (EHR) and item-level serialization could one day work together to effectively utilize limited medical supplies. In such a scenario, patients would only be allowed access to rationed vaccines if they could present valid EHR IDs. They would then be administered vaccines if documented to have underlying medical conditions. Serialized doses would then be administered and recorded, preventing clinic practitioners from intentionally circumventing established guidelines.

If this all sounds too Big Brother, too Big Government to you, I ask you this: How would you feel if you or a family member had an underlying medical condition for which vaccination was critical, and someone ahead of you lied and got the last vaccine?

Daphne Allen

  1. One Response to “Item-Level Serialization Could Assist EHR during Vaccine Rationing”

  2. While I understand your point, I think that we need to see more evidence that the behavior of these people is systemic before going to those lengths. Obviously, patients with underlying conditions should go first, however how much effort could be expended based on the bad behavior of a few?

    By Melody: Aseptic Filling on Oct 30, 2009

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