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Improving Pediatric Immunization Rates in a Safety-Net Delivery System

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Background: Denver Community Health Services (DCHS)' goal was to increase childhood immunization rates in the high-risk pediatric patient population served through its safety-net delivery system. The specific goal of the initiative was to ensure that children younger than 3 years of age with at least one primary care visit received all recommended vaccines by 24 months of age.

Methods: An immunization registry was developed to accurately track patients, regular assessment of immunization levels were conducted with provision of clinic-specific feedback, and team-based quality improvement meetings were held. The computerized immunization registry assisted in implementing all the remaining improvement activities. For example, improvement of on-time delivery of vaccines in primary care clinics was accomplished through a rules engine in the vaccine registry, standing orders for vaccine delivery, and implementation of vaccine delivery protocols that eliminated missed opportunities.

Results: From 1995 to 2006, Denver Community Health documented a 47% increase in immunization rates for 2-year-old patients and a 26% increase for 1-year-oldpatients. Two-year-old immunization rates exceeded 85% by the end of this time period.

Discussion: The initiative improved pediatric immunization rates with demonstrated sustainability during a 10-year period. Success is attributed to staff commitment to process improvement activities and use of a patient registry for pediatric immunization delivery.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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