The Task Force for Child Survival and Development in Decatur, Ga., worked for four years (2000–2004) with federal, state and local public health agencies across the nation to foster the development of computerized child health information systems that integrate data from multiple sources.
In response to low immunization rates among preschool children, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 1991 initiated a national program called All Kids Count: Establishing Immunization Monitoring and Follow-up Systems to create immunization registries (for more information see Program Results Report).
An immunization registry is a computerized information system that collects child vaccination records from multiple health care providers in a geographic area.
In July 2000, the RWJF Board of Trustees funded an All Kids Count technical resource center.
The project staff formed a collaborative of health organizations working to integrate child health information systems. The goal of the collaborative, called Connections, was to provide a forum for members to learn from one another and to document best practices.
Members were eligible for mini-grants to support their local integration initiatives. In addition to Connections, which continued with federal funding after the project ended, the staff convened an invitational conference and produced various publications to encourage the development of integrated child health information systems.
The technical resource center strengthened the public health sector's involvement in and commitment to the development of integrated child health information systems.
The concept of integrating immunization registries with other child health information systems gained increased support from federal agencies—including the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The technical resource center established a community of practice dedicated to improving public health information networking.
The technical assistance funds provided to Connections members stimulated solutions to networking issues that were shared with the health community at large.
The technical resource center helped move immunization registries and integrated child health information systems beyond the concept stage.