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November 29, 2001

Student database a booster
for immunization program

California State University, Sacramento students are giving a local children's immunization program a shot in the arm.

The students worked with Shots for Tots to develop a database that will allow the organization to track and correct problems as it rolls out an electronic immunization tracking system over the next few years. The students also designed and built the organization's web site.

The immunization tracking system will give doctors and nurses the ability to log on and determine if children have had proper immunizations or if they need others. Eventually the system will tie into a network that will allow medical personnel throughout the state to quickly check immunization records.

The database the students designed is a call-management system. It will allow Shots for Tots to log and track trouble calls as the immunization system goes online. Wong said it will make it easier for the organization's help desk to identify people who may have recurring problems as well as insure that no trouble call gets lost.

"We got a lot of compliments on the database and the web site," said Alan Wong, one of the students who worked on the project. Other students included James Ly, Bruce Nguyen, Pei-lin Wu and Roland Haag.

The Shots for Tots Regional Coalition and Immunization Registry was founded in 1994 to improve immunization rates in El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties. Its online immunization registry is a three-year pilot program that will initially involve Yuba and Sutter counties. It aims to collect and store the immunization records for 90 percent of children, 2 years old and younger, in seven counties by 2003-an estimated 7,200 children. Its plan includes providing immunization reminders to parents and physicians.

The students tackled the work as their senior project in computer science, submitting a proposal to Shots for Tots explaining what they could do for the organization. "And they picked us," Wong said.

For Wong, the project had an unexpected bonus: It led to job as a programmer with Shots for Tots.

"I basically do all the technical configuration," he said. "It worked out pretty well."


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