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Alberta Collaboration Leading the Charge on Strengthening Pharmacy Immunization Services
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2014
 

Edmonton – A new project enabling pharmacies to collect flu immunization records is supporting Alberta’s first electronic immunization record sharing between pharmacy providers and Alberta Health’s Provincial Immunization Registry.

Select pharmacies across Alberta are piloting a Pharmacy Immunization Program (PIP), developed by Alberta-based company OKAKI Health Intelligence. PIP is supporting the first electronic immunization record sharing between pharmacy providers and Alberta Health’s Provincial Immunization Registry – giving the province a much clearer picture of immunization records.

Previously, immunizations delivered by pharmacists were not captured in the provincial registry, the single electronic repository for immunization records. OKAKI Health Intelligence, Alberta Health and some Alberta pharmacies are changing this, so pharmacy-based records are included in the Alberta Health registry.

“Ultimately, we want to connect pharmacies to public health and public health to pharmacies, so patients have up-to-date records anywhere they go, and we can all work together to maximize opportunities to immunize Albertans,” said Stacy Johnson, director of Pharmacy Professional Services at Safeway Pharmacy, one of the pharmacies using PIP.

This year, pharmacists have immunized nearly 465,000 Albertans against the flu, equivalent to 48 per cent of all flu vaccine given in the province. This is up from 20,000 doses during the 2009-2010 flu season, the first year pharmacists started offering flu immunizations in Alberta.

Added Johnson: “We are working with OKAKI to establish an innovative model of health records management that will support improved patient care and continuity.”

PIP is also implementing a new model of pharmacy immunization records management which meets professional practice and work flow requirements of pharmacists.

Adrian Azim, Shoppers Drug Mart owner and Professional Practice Committee Chair for Alberta, explains that: “PIP has helped us spend more time focusing on patients, instead of shuffling paper. It has simplified our record keeping and reporting and, more importantly, our patients appreciate the improved efficiency and use of leading-edge technology.”

With product development support from Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures (AITF), the Public Health Agency of Canada, and vaccine manufacturers Sanofi Pasteur and Astra Zeneca, OKAKI has launched the Pharmacy Immunization Program (PIP) in select pharmacies around the
province. PIP has been specifically designed to support immunization services provided by pharmacies.

Salim Samanani, OKAKI’s CEO and Medical Director, said: “We wouldn’t have been able to develop and improve PIP technology without AITF.

“AITF support has helped us pursue our mission of strengthening the public health system and work towards complete immunization records for all Albertans.”

Based in Calgary, OKAKI is a public health informatics social enterprise and provider of leading edge immunization software as a service. PIP complements similar OKAKI initiatives with First Nations and post-secondary health centres to move from paper-based to electronic immunization records and to connect them to the broader public health system in Alberta. OKAKI employs 15 people in Alberta and began operations in October 2008. OKAKI is a Blackfoot word that means be wise.

About Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures

Part of Alberta’s research and innovation system, Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures (AITF) is helping build healthy, sustainable businesses in the province. Through a suite of programs and services for entrepreneurs, companies, researchers, post-secondary institutions and investors, AITF provides technical services and funding support to facilitate the commercialization of technologies, to develop new knowledge-based industry clusters and help encourage an entrepreneurial culture in Alberta.

For more information, contact:

Yuri Wuensch
Business Partner, Communications
Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures
780-782-7916
yuri.wuensch@albertainnovates.ca

Alex Tayler
Health Sector
Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures
403-210-5312
alex.tayler@albertainnovates.ca

Salim Samanani
Public Health and Infomatics Specialist
salim@okaki.com