Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Immunization Registries (Health Care Providers)

What is an immunization registry? What is CAIR?
An immunization registry is a secure web-based database that can store your patients’ immunization records. A registry helps medical practices keep their patients vaccinated on time, avoiding under- or overimmunization. All 50 states have immunization registries. Our California Immunization Registry is also known as CAIR. California has 10 regional CAIR affiliates that cover the state. CAIR users pay nothing for software, training and help desk support.

Who can use CAIR?
CAIR can only be used by authorized medical office staff, hospitals, and public health departments for the purposes of evaluating shot records, sending reminders, billing, and protecting the public health. Programs such as WIC, child care, schools, foster care, and CalWORKS may also be authorized to view shot histories for the children they serve.

What can CAIR do for my practice? Will it increase my staff’s busy workload?
CAIR reduces the staff time needed to:

  • search for or replace patient immunization records
  • provide records (“yellow cards” and “blue cards,”) for school, camp, or other activities
  • forecast which vaccines are due
  • give “just-in-case” immunizations when earlier shot records are missing
  • request shot records from other providers
  • prepare reminder notices, and
  • track vaccine inventory–including separate tracking for VFC vaccine supplies.

Immunization registry software works quickly and efficiently in a variety of clinic settings. The software has a high satisfaction rate. Testimonials from medical office staff affirm these advantages. Your regional CAIR representative can help assess your office workflow to maximize CAIR benefits for your practice.

What if our immunization rates are high already, should my practice join the registry?
CAIR:

  • saves staff time and helps your patients
  • consolidates records when children have been immunized by different providers.
  • keeps children up-to-date by making rapid, accurate assessments of the increasingly complex vaccine schedule.
  • accurately tracks your practice’s coverage rates.
  • improves immunization rates, whether high or low. 

What computer equipment is needed?
Most computers with high-speed Internet access are adequate for registry use. Ask the CAIR Help Desk  to help you evaluate your current system technology, identify any gaps.

Who will train our staff to use the registry?
CAIR training is available online. In some areas of the state, CAIR representatives can schedule free in-person training for your staff. CAIR software is very user-friendly, requiring no prior computer skills. Free Help Desk services are available to answer questions during normal business hours. Call 800-578-7889.

How do we ensure data accuracy?
CAIR software has built-in quality assurance features. Validation procedures identify inaccurate or missing data entered into the registry. The CAIR Help Desk can help you correct data.

How CAIR integrate with our existing EMR/EHRs?

CAIR is currently able to receive immunization data from EMR/EHRs in either ‘flat file’ or HL7 format.  Only HL7 data submission qualifies under the EHR Incentive ProgramData exchange file specifications are available on the 5 Steps to Data Exchange or from the CAIR Data Exchange staff at CAIRDataExchange@cdph.ca.gov.  Providers interested in data exchange with CAIR should view the 5 Steps to Data Exchange page to receive general instructions on the data submission process then register at the CDPH Gateway/CAIR IZ Portal

Are patients’ records in CAIR kept secure?
CAIR complies with HIPAA and state law to protect patient privacy. Providers and CAIR staff must abide by confidentiality agreements in order to share patient records. Each viewing of patient records is tracked to maintain an “audit trail.” Moreover, CAIR software has security features to protect confidential data from being seen by unauthorized sources.

Some families might not like the idea of a registry. What are their options?
Families have the choice of whether their children's records are shared with other CAIR users. All parents or guardians must be notified before their children’s records are entered into CAIR. In practice, few families have chosen to not participate after this notification. Participating families also have the choice whether to receive reminders and to inspect their children’s registry records for accuracy.

Can I access patient records from another part of California?
Yes.  Although patient records are not currently searchable across the multiple CAIR regions, the CAIR Help Desk can assist providers to obtain patient records outside of their region. Over the next years the regions will be electronically linked. This will enable a participating provider anywhere in California to access patient immunization data from any of the state’s regions.

How do we maintain control of our patients’ records? Will other practices be able lure away our patients?
Your patients’ immunization records are protected by security measures as well as by agreements signed by all providers participating in CAIR. Providers must use specific identifying information to search for children in the registry and cannot browse through all records.

Where can I learn more about CAIR?
Visit cairweb.org or contact the CAIR Help Desk at 800-578-7889 or your Local CAIR Representative.