Managing your family’s immunizations is more important than ever. A new tool aims to help you do just that.
Keeping track of immunization records has always been important — especially for parents of young children — but the global pandemic has complicated our immunization stories even further.
“Prior to COVID-19, nobody knew about accessing their immunization record out of an immunization registry,” notes Kristina Crane, chief strategy officer at STChealth, a vaccine intelligence company. “Now folks understand they may actually need their immunization records for lots of different reasons.”
STChealth has been in the business of connecting consumers with their own health records for decades. The result of that experience and expertise is MyIR, a secure, adaptive electronic portal that can be accessed on any device at no cost. “MyIR is a consumer platform that lets users access not only their own immunization information but also their children’s immunization information, and any state customized documents that are available, such as school certificates,” explains Sarah McKee, senior product manager at STChealth.
“It has definitely made my life easier,” says MyIR user Becca Hall. “I needed to prove I previously received a vaccine for a new job. MyIR had all of my immunizations listed, and I was able to find the necessary proof — a shot I received in 1998!”
MyIR also offers the ability to “forecast” immunization needs — to see what immunizations requirements are coming up for your family. “We use our integrated forecaster to provide that information and really give everyone a full picture of their entire immunization information,” McKee notes.
The deep experience and long-term relationships with state health agencies also give MyIR an advantage when it comes to proof of vaccination using what are known as Smart Health Cards, which display proof of vaccination as a QR code.
“There are a few different formats,” notes Crane. “We plan on implementing most of them because it’s about making sure that the citizens and the population have access to their records and can utilize that as they need to.”
While there has always been a need for a tool helping parents and individuals access immunization records, the pandemic has upped the ante. “Pre-pandemic, we were getting a handful of phone calls a week,” notes Crane. “Now, when a governor or somebody else puts out a tweet, our support team is flooded with information requests — thousands a day.”
“Essentially things have changed entirely overnight,” notes Michelle Bonjour, STChealth’s director of consumer engagement. “Working with the state health departments and consumers to figure out a solution to get them access to their records quickly, safely, and efficiently has been top of mind.”
STChealth’s long history with immunization records helped them navigate these problems where other immunization record apps have run into problems. “These immunization registry systems weren’t really built for consumer access,” Crane explains. “When we designed MyIR, it was with the consumer in mind.”
Customer support is paramount. “If consumers are having issues matching to their records, our support staff is going to go in and help them get matched. We try to find numerous ways for our end-users to be able to get the answers that they need.”
Hall agrees that MyIR’s support is exemplary. “I had an issue initially because my records were under an old phone number,” he notes. “But customer support helped me immediately and even assisted me with linking my children to my account.”
Bonjour notes that STChealth is dedicated to serving the interests of consumers. “We try to answer every single phone call, every email, every social media question, everything that we can,” she says, “because we really want to get it in the hands of the consumer.”