The Vaccine Safety Datalink: A Model for Monitoring Immunization Safety

Immunization Safety Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Mail Stop D25, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 05/2011; 127 Suppl 1(Supplement):S45-53. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-1722H
Source: PubMed


The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) project is a collaborative project between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 8 managed care organizations (MCOs) in the United States. Established in 1990 to conduct postmarketing evaluations of vaccine safety, the project has created an infrastructure that allows for high-quality research and surveillance. The 8 participating MCOs comprise a large population of 8.8 million members annually (3% of the US population), which enables researchers to conduct studies that assess adverse events after immunization. Each MCO prepares computerized data files by using a standardized data dictionary containing demographic and medical information on its members, such as age and gender, health plan enrollment, vaccinations, hospitalizations, outpatient clinic visits, emergency department visits, urgent care visits, and mortality data, as well as additional birth information (eg, birth weight) when available. Other information sources, such as medical chart review, member surveys, and pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology data, are often used in VSD studies to validate outcomes and vaccination data. Since 2000, the VSD has undergone significant changes including an increase in the number of participating MCOs and enrolled population, changes in data-collection procedures, the creation of near real-time data files, and the development of near real-time postmarketing surveillance for newly licensed vaccines or changes in vaccine recommendations. Recognized as an important resource in vaccine safety, the VSD is working toward increasing transparency through data-sharing and external input. With its recent enhancements, the VSD provides scientific expertise, continues to develop innovative approaches for vaccine-safety research, and may serve as a model for other patient safety collaborative research projects.

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    • "Since 1990, the VSD, managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been providing evidence, particularly about safety, to inform national immunization policy through population-based research [27]. With more than 2 decades of surveillance, the VSD has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to investigate and detect safety signals, and evaluate vaccine effectiveness [28]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Post-marketing drug surveillance for adverse drug events (ADEs) has typically relied on spontaneous reporting. Recently, regulatory agencies have turned their attention to more preemptive approaches that use existing data for surveillance. We conducted an environmental scan to identify active surveillance systems worldwide that use existing data for the detection of ADEs. We extracted data about the systems' structures, data, and functions. We synthesized the information across systems to identify common features of these systems. We identified nine active surveillance systems. Two systems are US based - the FDA Sentinel Initiative (including both the Mini-Sentinel Initiative and the Federal Partner Collaboration) and the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD); two are Canadian-the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES) and the Vaccine and Immunization Surveillance in Ontario (VISION); and two are European-the Exploring and Understanding Adverse Drug Reactions by Integrative Mining of Clinical Records and Biomedical Knowledge (EU-ADR) Alliance and the Vaccine Adverse Event Surveillance and Communication (VAESCO). Additionally, there is the Asian Pharmacoepidemiology Network (AsPEN) and the Shanghai Drug Monitoring and Evaluative System (SDMES). We identified two systems in the UK - the Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines (VRMM) Division and the Drug Safety Research Unit (DSRU), an independent academic unit. These surveillance systems mostly use administrative claims or electronic medical records; most conduct pharmacovigilance on behalf of a regulatory agency. Either a common data model or a centralized model is used to access existing data. The systems have been built using national data alone or via partnership with other countries. However, active surveillance systems using existing data remain rare. North America and Europe have the most population coverage; with Asian countries making good advances.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Drug Safety
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    • "We analyzed data obtained through the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 10 managed care organizations (MCOs) from across the United States [22]. Our analyses include data from eight VSD sites. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV4) for use in females in June 2006 and in males in October 2009. The objective of our study was to describe HPV4 uptake, single-dose coverage, and completion of the three-dose series among those 9-26 years of age, after the respective female and male vaccine licensures through June 2011. The study population included members of eight managed care organizations participating in the Vaccine Safety Datalink; we abstracted demographic and comprehensive vaccine information from electronic health records. We found one-dose coverage increasing throughout the study period, to a high of 37.7% among females and 1.3% among males in June 2011. Among those receiving at least one HPV4 dose, three-dose series completion was 42% for females and 30.2% for males. Our results demonstrate low initiation and completion of the HPV4 series among those recommended to receive the vaccine. Although consistent with previous studies, these results highlight the continued need to develop, implement, and monitor strategies to increase HPV4 vaccine initiation and completion in younger adolescents to achieve maximum impact in reducing the burden of cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Journal of Adolescent Health
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    • "Studying rare outcomes, new interventions, and diverse populations frequently requires collaborations across multiple healthcare institutions. The ability to exchange health research data is growing through the development of distributed research networks, healthcare collaboratories, and computing grids [1-8]. As the capability for multi-site research grows, the amount of new public health research involving partnerships across academic institutions, healthcare delivery systems, insurance providers and pharmaceutical companies is also growing worldwide. "
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    ABSTRACT: Studying rare outcomes, new interventions and diverse populations often requires collaborations across multiple health research partners. However, transferring healthcare research data from one institution to another can increase the risk of data privacy and security breaches. A working group of multi-site research programmers evaluated the need for tools to support data security and data privacy. The group determined that data privacy support tools should: 1) allow for a range of allowable Protected Health Information (PHI); 2) clearly identify what type of data should be protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); and 3) help analysts identify which protected health information data elements are allowable in a given project and how they should be protected during data transfer. Based on these requirements we developed two performance support tools to support data programmers and site analysts in exchanging research data. The first tool, a workplan template, guides the lead programmer through effectively communicating the details of multi-site programming, including how to run the program, what output the program will create, and whether the output is expected to contain protected health information. The second performance support tool is a checklist that site analysts can use to ensure that multi-site program output conforms to expectations and does not contain protected health information beyond what is allowed under the multi-site research agreements. Together the two tools create a formal multi-site programming workflow designed to reduce the chance of accidental PHI disclosure.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
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