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Rochester RHIO data used in federal vaccine study

The Rochester Regional Health Information Organization is sharing data with the CDC.
The Rochester Regional Health Information Organization is sharing data with the CDC.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is using data from the Rochester Regional Health Information Organization to gauge the effectiveness of a vaccine.

The regional organization provided anonymous data from screenings for cervical cancer to the federal centers. That data allows the centers to evaluate the effectiveness of a vaccine for human papilloma virus, which can cause cervical cancer.

Evidence from the vaccine’s clinical trials already pointed to its effectiveness, said Nancy Bennett, who’s leading the project locally, but she said this data allows the government to test how well it works in the real world, outside of tightly controlled clinical conditions.

In the controlled trials, Bennett said, “You do find out whether the vaccine works or not. But what you don’t find out is, how well does it work in real life? For example, with this vaccine, people needed to get three doses. If they’re only getting two doses, does it prevent disease?”

Four other locations across the country are submitting data to the national disease centers, but Bennett said data from Rochester is unique, as it’s the only information to come directly from health care providers.

“We’re looking at the whole population of Monroe County,” Bennett said. “It’s the only study to look at the impact at a population level, rather than looking at one discrete group of people that don’t necessarily reflect the entire population.”

Bennett said local data is the “gold standard” for cervical cancer screenings.

Early results from the project show the vaccine is effective at preventing cervical cancer, even when it’s not used exactly as prescribed.