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Proc AMIA Symp. 1999:878-82.

Exploring three approaches for handling incomplete patient histories in a computer-based guideline for childhood immunization.

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Center for Medical Informatics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


A significant problem faced by immunization registries is that the dates of a patient's previous vaccinations may not be known. These incomplete histories can pose a problem when attempting to use a computer-based guideline to produce patient-specific immunization recommendations automatically. This paper describes an overall approach, together with 3 specific strategies, developed to help deal with this problem. The paper then describes our experience applying the approach to a database containing over 400,000 immunization histories. The paper also discusses a number of the issues raised in adapting a computer-based guideline to accommodate incomplete patient data of this sort.

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