Joint Navigation: Setting a Course for Public Health Professionals and Technical Staff, Together

Immunization registries are a relatively new frontier in public health. They were created by city, county, and state public health departments across the United States in the 1990s. A decade later, most registries were consolidated into statewide systems and became accessible online. For many pediatric locations these systems were the first step toward digitizing patient records, although it would still be another 10 years before electronic health records (EHRs) would experience widespread adoption. These first-of-their-kind registries demonstrated the benefits of embracing new technologies in public health.

Throughout the brief history of immunization registries, public health experts have played—and must continue to play—a central role. Since many public health experts are not technology experts, however, and may feel uncomfortable weighing in on issues outside their domain, technical teams often bear the full responsibility of navigating technical decisions on behalf of public health.