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Standardizing digital vaccination records in Canada: team behind CANImmunize launches Canadian Vaccine Catalogue


July 12, 2018


The Canadian Vaccine Catalogue, developed by The Ottawa Hospital mHealth Lab, will make it easier for provinces, territories and industry to build digital vaccination systems that adhere to national standards.
As provinces and territories across Canada work to digitize vaccination records, a team of Canadian physicians, researchers and policy-makers has released the first version of the Canadian Vaccine Catalogue (CVC). This comprehensive, standards-based source-of-truth is a crucial resource for vaccine terminology and vaccine product information in Canada. It was developed by The Ottawa Hospital mHealth Lab (the team behind CANImmunize) and is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. For more information go to: https://cvc.canimmunize.ca.

Provinces and territories across Canada are working towards the development of a national network of immunization registries whereby each jurisdiction would maintain its own system for tracking immunization coverage. To facilitate the standardization of these registries and other digital health records that collect immunization data, like electronic medical records, the CVC provides monthly updates of vaccine terminology and product information that is aggregated from various governmental and industry sources.

“The Canadian Vaccine Catalogue will make it easier for provinces, territories and industry to build digital vaccination systems that adhere to national standards, without the burden of having to aggregate this information themselves.” - Cameron Bell, lead developer for the CVC.

The CVC aggregates the following data which is then made available for consumption by electronic health systems through an HL7® FHIR® interface:

  • Global trade item numbers and associated product information from vaccine manufacturers via GS1 Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Vaccine lot release information from the Health Canada Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate
  • Vaccine product information from the Health Canada Drug Product Database
  • The vaccination related subsets from the Canadian SNOMED CT edition developed and maintained by Canada Health Infoway

The CVC makes it possible for a physician’s electronic medical record to always have an up-to-date list of vaccines that are available for use in Canada and will enable the software to produce vaccination records that are consistent with nationally agreed upon data standards. The CVC also facilitates vaccine barcode scanning for both inventory management and immunization administration.

“Our national immunization strategy depends on our ability to collect high-quality data on immunizations, in all provinces and territories, and from a myriad of digital systems and providers. The Canadian Vaccine Catalogue can help facilitate this.” Dr. Kumanan Wilson, senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital, professor at the University of Ottawa and founder of The Ottawa Hospital mHealth Lab, based at Algonquin College. 

The CVC powers the pan-Canadian immunization app CANImmunize (www.canimmunize.ca) which allows people to manage their immunization records across mobile devices, and soon on the web. CANImmunize uses the CVC to ensure that when users track vaccinations in their app, that the resulting digital records are compatible with provincial immunization registries that adhere to the same standards.

The CVC is important for the following users:

  • Electronic medical record vendors
  • Drug database providers
  • Public health immunization system implementers
  • Consumer health application developers

The catalogue is open and free to use and can be downloaded from https://cvc.canimmunize.ca.

For further information and media contact:

Michelle Paradis
Communications Officer
The Ottawa Hospital mHealth Lab
micparadis@toh.ca
613-297-7431