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State Health Department in Early Stages on System Update

Officials want to hear from companies that can offer perspective on a potential technology refresh.

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The state’s most easily identifiable public health department wants to hear from IT vendors on a new technology project.

In a request for information (RFI) released Jan. 3, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is calling for assistance on the California Immunization Registry 3 (CAIR3) Project. CDPH, generally, is charged with protecting public health in California and shaping “positive health outcomes for individuals, families and communities,” per its website. Among the takeaways:

  • CDPH is requesting “feedback on draft requirements, anticipated vendor tasks, and a rough order of magnitude (ROM) cost and effort estimate” for CAIR3, “California’s statewide Immunization Information System (IIS).” California’s current IIS, CAIR2, was completed April 30, 2017; it’s maintained by CDPH’s Immunization Branch (IZB) within its Division of Communicable Disease Control, and by a third-party vendor, and is “recognized and funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” CAIR2 enabled direct incorporation of “patient records and vaccine doses containing Health Level Seven messages” and cut the time needed to do “cross-regional or statewide” patient match reports. But the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated CAIR2’s weaknesses and limitations, including the inability to support high volumes of incoming messages; excessive generation of duplicate patients resulting in “incomplete upload of patient COVID-19 vaccine doses”; badly performing dose and “record update logic”; difficulties with vaccine scheduling; and the inability to merge patient records. Because of this, IZB is seeking “a new and more robust process for handling large-scale vaccination events,” according to the RFI.
  • CAIR3 objectives include being able to manage a “large volume of incoming submissions and responding to system queries” from roughly 30,000 submitting partners; improving the “patient matching algorithm” for “accurate and rapid processing of a high volume of electronic data” that comes in 24/7; better internal and external reporting functionality; improved configurability of parameters to enable changing business rules; and system and hosting stability in periods of high traffic. New system tasks the state is considering for a possible request for proposal (RFP) include design, development and integration services; end-to-end system testing; training; knowledge transfer; and security and system documentation. Estimates on data migration services aren’t currently needed but “any information the RFI respondent may provide would be welcome.” CDPH wants to use the agile approach to developing software, and it anticipates CAIR3 will live in the state cloud infrastructure.
  • Required response elements include a “narrative description of the proposed solution” and any RFI areas of consideration like “limitations, constraints, or assumptions.” Rough order of magnitude estimates on costs, duration, effort and assumptions are needed as well as projected cost summaries.
  • The precise value and timing of any potential RFP are not certain; responses to the RFI are due by 3 p.m. Jan. 31.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.