Tracking immunizations at St. John’s Health made easier through interoperability

Learn how Oracle Health technology supported one health system's COVID-19 response, delivering vaccines in record time.


Without the functionality to get doses recorded in the Wyoming registry within the required 48-hour period, we wouldn’t have been able to continue getting shipments, giving second doses, and geting people vaccinated quickly.

Susan FreezeRN, CAHIMS, Provider Applications Manager

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“I don’t know. I think I got that vaccine.” This is a phrase clinicians at St. John’s Health, a CommunityWorks facility in Jackson, Wyoming, frequently hear from their patients. Often, patients do not recall where or when they received immunizations. Without the proper workflows in place, it can be difficult for providers to track and manage this information.

In 2019, St. John’s Health began using Cerner’s Immunization Registry Reporting and Query to electronically send vaccine data to the Wyoming Immunization Registry (WyIR) and retrieve information to reduce manual processes. It’s a tool that's used all day, every day, across ambulatory clinics and inpatient areas to exchange vaccine data almost immediately.

Before Immunization Registry Reporting and Query was set up, clinicians had to log in separately to WyIR to view and record vaccines. If immunizations were given anywhere across the St. John’s Health system, someone would need to document that information in both the electronic health record (EHR) and the WyIR site. This required a lot of extra work, such as maintaining spreadsheets and inputting separate data into the system at the end of each week.

“It’s way more efficient to have that bidirectional interface,” says Susan Freeze, RN, CAHIMS, provider applications manager. “When we give vaccines, those automatically get transferred over to the state without any extra effort after doing our documentation in the EHR. We don't have to manage as many separate logins, push any buttons, or do anything. I’d estimate that we're saving several minutes per patient and then hours per week because of this capability.”

From October 2021 to March 2022, clinicians at St. John’s Health viewed more than 4,100 immunization reports (98.9% of all available reports) and electronically imported more than 2,730 of those into patients’ records using Immunization Query.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, sending vaccine information promptly to the state was even more critical.

In order to release COVID-19 vaccine shipments to different entities, Wyoming required that all vaccines be reported to the state within 48 hours of administration. Freeze worked with the Oracle Health team to quickly get everything in place to electronically push these brand-new vaccines to the state registry.

The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) came out on a Friday, and St. John’s Health gave its first doses on the very next Tuesday. Almost instantaneously, the immunizations were recorded in WyIR.

“Instead of having someone sit there and do those hundreds and thousands of manual and duplicate data entries, we could do all of our work in the Cerner EHR,” says Freeze.

St. John’s Health is a small but mighty organization. With the first round of COVID-19 vaccines, it was able to administer around 10,000 doses to the most exposed population including the elderly, immunocompromised persons, healthcare workers, and others.

As the flu season approaches, St. John’s Health is planning ahead. The organization intends to apply the lessons learned from Its prior COVID-19 experience to future flu seasons. This proactive approach will help to fill gaps in care and provide more complete health records.

“Immunization Query is a prime example of a tool that keeps us with the patient longer and spending less time at the computer,” says Freeze. “Chances of having an incomplete patient record are greater without that query, and having that ability to pull in patients’ comprehensive health history is crucial to reducing duplicate vaccinations, saving patient costs, and providing overall better care.”

Outcomes achieved prior to Oracle acquisition of Cerner. Company name updated to reflect current organization name.

Data for this story was pulled utilizing Cerner’s Lights On Network.

Published:June 24, 2022

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