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Taking steps to keep our children healthy

Fall is upon us and it’s that time again. No, I’m not referring to college football. I’m talking about another annual tradition: flu shots!

With the recent measles outbreak, there has been a lot of discussion about the importance and evidence to support vaccination. To provide families with additional information about vaccines and vaccine safety, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) created a website with clear, concise, and evidence-based answers to questions about vaccine safety.

Beyond highlighting the evidence in support of vaccination, I also want to share a personal experience to highlight the importance of routine vaccination to defend against vaccine-preventable illnesses. Some of these illnesses can lead to serious, debilitating consequences, even death.

In my first year of residency, I spent a month working at the University of Chicago’s pediatric hospital. During that month, I cared for children with a full spectrum of health conditions – severe sickle cell anemia, complications from heart-related birth defects and childhood cancers. When I reflect on those children and other patients, it was a child with a vaccine-preventable illness that made the most profound impact on my memory.

A child, slightly older than my 7-year-old son, was admitted to the hospital for a severe blood and lung infection. Unlike more typical infections seen in children this age that result from “community-acquired” respiratory infections, this child’s severe infection was a caused by a complication of chickenpox.

This child’s case stands out to me not because of its severity, but because it could have been prevented with a safe and effective vaccine against chickenpox (a.k.a., Varicella-zoster). Based on well-established clinical evidence and my experience as a parent and a physician, I continue to advocate for vaccine use by patients, family, friends and colleagues.

Similarly, Allscripts is committed to supporting patient health maintenance and disease prevention leveraging our technology and innovation. To this aim, Allscripts recently joined the Immunization Integration Program (IIP) Collaborative.

As described on the collaborative’s website, “the IIP Collaborative is a problem-solving forum for EHR and IIS stakeholders to come together to identify actionable solutions to improve EHR and IIS integration in order to improve the health of individuals and populations.”

Understanding the invaluable benefit of immunizations to reduce or eliminate vaccine-preventable illnesses – like chickenpox, measles and influenza – Allscripts is honored to be a part of this collaborative. Allscripts looks forward to working with other committed stakeholders to achieve better health for patients leveraging the power of health IT.

While not as fun as watching your favorite football team, the sting of a flu shot is much less painful than a loss to your biggest rival.

Please go out and get your flu shot today. Your colleagues, friends and family will thank you for it!

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