MesVaccins.net: an integrated platform for information and communication on immunisation

Auteur : jean-louis.koeck
Publié le : 08/12/2016

Today, official immunisation guidelines are regularly published throughout Europe. These targeted recommendations provide rules establishing against which diseases a patient should be protected. In line with current trends towards personalised medicine, these rules account for many patient characteristics: age, gender, but also allergies, medical history, foreign travel plans and profession.

Not only complex, these guidelines are also fast-changing: as the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable disease and the availability of vaccines change, vaccine policy has to evolve. As a result, it is increasingly hard for health care practitioners to maintain and update their professional knowledge on immunisation practices.

In this context, MesVaccins.net was created as a fully integrated platform that leverages modern communication tools to help both patients and health professionals better understand the different aspects of immunisation. MesVaccins.net provides its user with:

          > Information on immunisation (news, alerts, structured data on vaccines and diseases)

          > An immunisation registry

          > Decision support tools, including an advanced immunisation expert system

The content of our website is managed by a group of experts using a wiki-like administration interface. Using it does not require extensive training and enables us to continuously update the knowledge base.

 

Information tools

These are the classic features one can find on most medical information websites. Our experts regularly write and publish news on immunisation : guideline updates, vaccination campaigns, updates on vaccination refund, marketing authorisations, information on vaccine-preventable diseases, efficiency studies. Important news are sent as alerts to our professional users. We also provide techincal data sheets on vaccines and diseases, a database of reference texts on immunisation, and geolocalisation of vaccination centers.

 

Decision support tools

Query tools

Using our smart query tools, the healthcare professional can search vaccines, using the following criteria: target disease, recommended age, valence, manufacturer, components, counter-indications.

Expert system for immunisation recommendation and assessment

Our expert system emulates the decision-making process of an immunisation expert. Supplied with the immunisation history and the health profile of a patient, our expert system figures both:                > Recommended and contraindicated diseases: the vaccine-preventable diseases against which a given patient should or should not be protected.

> Immunisation record assessment: an assessment of the immunisation state of the patient: is he up to date or not in his vaccinations? If not, which catch-up schedule should be used? With the help of our expert system, the health care professional can plan vaccinations. Reminders are sent by email and text message to the patient, a practice that has been proven to raise patient complicance rates in several studies.

 

An Electronic Immunisation Record

Patients can create and share electronic immunisation records with health professionals on MesVaccins.net. The patient is in control of his data: he is free to both grant and revoke access to his record and he may delete his record anytime. Sharing features enable seamless communication between patients and health care professionals.

Our vaccination record can be used as an epidemiological tool. We are currently implementing vaccine coverage calculation and adverse effect reporting.

 

Administration interface

The matter of acquiring and encoding domain knowledge has long been recognised as one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when creating a knowledge-based system such as MesVaccins.net. To overcome this knowledge acquisition bottleneck, our administration interface comprises a knowledge acquisition facility, enabling immunisation experts to create and maintain domain data (vaccines, diseases, manufacturers, valences...) as well as expert system rules. Our administration website is also used to maintain other tasks (such as account administration and news publishing).

 

Security

The issue of security is of the utmost importance when it comes to medical data; while immunisation history itself may not be sensitive, the patient profile that is stored with it may hold confidential medical information. To devise a secure architecture, we have worked with French software company IDS, which specialises in secure hosting of medical data. Our new security policy had to allow for our immunisation record to be openly accessible on the Internet while minimising the risks of leaking confidential data. To that intent, we have opted to build two separate websites: one is for patients, the other is professional-only.

Patient website

On our public website, the patient accesses his password-protected account, which contains several immunisation records (for the whole family). Each record is anonymous (de-identified) and accessed through a unique ID.

Professional website

It is protected by a proxy that enforces health care professional identification (using a security certificate delivered by IDS). Identification (name, adress, phone number) may be entered by the health care professional on the private website. However, this identification stays on the private server, out of reach for the public server. As a result, a cracker attacking the patient website would not have access to the identification of the immunisation record he broke into. Our security model has been approved by French data protection agency CNIL. Furthermore, medical data hosting is regulated in France by precise data security requirements, among the strictest in Europe.

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