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PA-SIIS Frequently Asked Questions

How do I begin using the PA-SIIS?

The PA-SIIS is a web-based registry that is currently available to health care providers and their staff.
If you are interested in participating in the PA-SIIS, please complete the provider interest form
After you have completed the provider interest form, a PA-SIIS staff member will contact you to schedule a meeting and establish an implementation date.

How much does it cost to participate in the PA-SIIS?

The PA-SIIS was developed and is maintained through federal and state funding. At no cost to you, the Department of Health will provide:

  • Confidentiality agreement, username, and password to access the PA-SIIS
  • Start-up assistance
  • Instruction manuals and training
  • Ongoing technical support

Is the PA-SIIS secure/confidential?

The PA-SIIS policies and agreements protect against unauthorized disclosure of immunization and patient information. Software security guards data (passwords, timeout sessions, etc.) to ensure the security of information housed in the PA- SIIS. The PA-SIIS complies with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Do providers need to have a computer in order to participate?

Yes. Since the PA-SIIS is a web-based system, providers must have a computer and internet access to participate. The recommended minimum configuration needed is:

  • Windows or Mac operating system
  • Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher
  • 56K modem or faster connection is preferred

How do providers access the registry?

You are required to sign the Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System User Agreement Acknowledgement prior to your scheduled implementation date. After signing, you are assigned a username and password, which provides access to the registry.

How are patient and immunization records created in the PA-SIIS?

  • Pennsylvania birth records are electronically imported into the PA- SIIS on a weekly basis. Patient records are currently created in the PA-SIIS for all Pennsylvania births from 1996 to date.
  • For patients born in Pennsylvania prior to 1996, providers create the patient record.
  • For all patients born outside of Pennsylvania, providers create the patient record.

Immunization providers update the records when they vaccinate a patient.

Are providers required to back-enter the records of existing patients?

Yes. Providers must enter the immunization histories of all patients. Typically, immunizations histories are entered when patients present for immunizations. A complete immunization history offers key benefits such as generation of an official immunization record, calculation of immunization rates for your practice, and generation of accurate reminder/recall notifications. Entry of complete immunization histories also assists in minimizing unnecessary duplicate immunization administration.

What if a provider already enters immunization information into a computer system? Is there any way to avoid double data entry?

The PA-SIIS currently supports a real-time, bi-directional HL7 immunization interface to other software and systems. Options may also be available to initially import your patient and immunization data into the registry at the time of implementation. Please contact the PA-SIIS at 717-783-2548 for interface specifications.

How much time will be required of providers in order to participate?

The initial training takes approximately three hours. Once trained, the average user can enter data at the rate of one record every 2-3 minutes. However, the speed of entry depends on the user's level of computer literacy, type of Internet connection, and completeness of the existing registry record. All of these factors play a role in increasing or decreasing the time it takes to enter data. Registry staff will work with providers to minimize the burden of reporting and to maximize the benefits available from using the registry.

Can medical office staff enter records into the registry?

Medical office staff is authorized to enter information into the PA-SIIS. However, each PA-SIIS user must sign a Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System User Agreement Acknowledgement and be assigned a username and password to access the registry.

Can usernames and passwords be shared among medical office staff?

No. PA-SIIS user accounts are unique to each PA-SIIS user. The owner of a PA- SIIS account is responsible for all activity conducted in the registry under that account.

What information can providers obtain from the registry?

  • An official immunization record for each patient
  • List of patients coming due or past due for immunizations
  • Information for HEDIS reporting
  • Various clinical information reports such as monthly shot administration counts and immunization coverage level reports
  • Immunization recommendation at time of vaccination

What are the benefits for providers who participate in the registry?

  • Consolidates immunization records from all providers into one record
  • Reduces staff time spent manually retrieving and entering immunization information
  • Prints accurate, official patient immunization records at point of service
  • Helps manage vaccine inventories
  • Provides recommendations on immunizations that are coming due or past due
  • Provides the capability to generate reminder and recall notifications

Is training and technical support available for providers?

PA-SIIS staff conducts training sessions at a time and location convenient for the immunization provider and/or staff. PA-SIIS staff is available for technical support issues Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

What hours is the PA-SIIS available?

The PA-SIIS is accessible 24 hours per day, 7 days a week; however, the Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System (PA-SIIS) Confidentiality Policy states that PA-SIIS users are not permitted to access the PA-SIIS outside of the job site.

What if a patient has a special circumstance that prevents him or her from receiving the full schedule of shots?

The PA-SIIS provides the capability for immunization providers to document the special circumstances and contraindications that prevent a patient from receiving an immunization.

I am a school nurse and I can't find the immunization record of a student in the PA-SIIS?

Because PA-SIIS participation is voluntary, the immunization provider of the student may not be using the PA-SIIS. Please contact the practice and encourage them to participate in the PA-SIIS.

Can I contact the PA-SIIS to obtain a copy of my immunization history?

In order to obtain a copy of your immunization history or your child's immunization history, you need to contact your immunization provider.