The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the leading national public health institute of the United States and the authority in protecting public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability. So, there's few providers who'd be more suitable to make an immunization app than CDC.
As someone who frequently used their online vaccine scheduler in the past, I was more than happy when CDC released their first vaccine app. The CDC Vaccine Schedules app is aimed toward medical providers, rather than patients and parents, like was the case in previous similar apps. Surprisingly, the app doesn't offer the same functionality of the CDC website, namely its personalized catch-up scheduler, which is disappointing and spoils our impression a bit.
The Vaccine Schedules app has simple design, albeit a bit outdated. There's plenty of room for designers to play around, especially with all those ugly looking buttons and tables. But, the look doesn't affect the app functionality, which is crucial, especially for good medical app. It offers all the basic tools needed for a point-of-care vaccine reference.
Upon starting the CDC Vaccine Schedules app, you see the home page that includes six buttons each reserved for different purpose, from age categories to various conditions and contraindications. There are four buttons for age categories: children (birth to 6 years), adolescent (7-18 year old), catch-up (4 months to 18 years), adults. The remaining two buttons lead to adult conditions and contraindications to vaccines.
Although there are six different options on the home screen, all the given information is basically about children and adults, i.e. about schedules depending on the age, which is presented in similar fashion via ACIP schema (yellow for recommended ages, green for catch-up and purple for high-risk conditions). Taping on any of the child and adult buttons brings up the ACIP schedule, with tabs along the bottom of the screen for different ages, catch-up schedules, and useful resources.
Taping on any of the vaccines in the table, brings up further information on minimum age allowed to receive the vaccine, routine vaccination, recommendations for catch-up vaccine and vaccination of persons with high-risk conditions.
Although the interface in this part is clean and easy to follow, it's still ridden with a lot of text. To some user this could be a distraction. Not to mention it looks outdated. Interactivity, especially within the schedules, would be a nice improvement.
The next, Catch-up option shows the table with the information about the vaccine and minimum interval between doses. There are also several tabs above the table giving the information on vaccines and minimum intervals between doses 1-5 for children 4 months to 6 years, as well as for doses 1-4 for older children and adolescents (7-18 years) accessible via tab below the table.
Again, a bit of interactivity could save the day here. CDC already offer a web-based interactive vaccine catch-up, that allows users/parents to input a child's age and current vaccines in order to get a personalized catch-up vaccine list. This is neat and useful functionality, but somehow CDC decided to omit it from their app, which is the biggest drawback and limitation in our opinion.
The adult vaccine schedule is also broken up into 6 age categories (from 19 to above 65 years), giving the same color-coded information regarding schedules. Each vaccine in the table is clickable and gives more information and recommendations on tap.
Useful addition to adult schedule is a list of conditions with specific vaccine recommendations, from pregnancy to healthcare personnel.
This list is accessible via Conditions tab in Adult schedule or via Adult conditions button on home screen. A drop down menu of conditions shows on the tap, showing the modified recommendations for vaccines, depending on the condition. Finally, Contraindications button gives a list of contraindications and precautions to commonly used vaccines in adults. Taping on the individual vaccine gives more info about the certain vaccine, contraindications and precautions.
The CDC Vaccine app also offers a number of vaccine-related resources, which include links to the website that gives a lot of useful information for each vaccine given in the app. What this app lacks is ability to share, print or open any of the links. Also, it doesn't allow sharing or printing ACIP schedule table, which could be useful to both health providers and parents/patients. Another drawback is lack of useful list of contraindications and precautions for pediatric vaccines, which are given only for common adult vaccines.
Overall, this is good and useful app with several quirks that could be easily fixed in one of the future updates.
Benefit: The app is aimed toward health providers, such as pediatricians, family practitioners, internists, and OB/GYNs, but parents/patients may find it useful as well.