In 2012, all eight UW Health pediatric primary care clinics exceeded institutional immunization benchmarks for children up to age two.
This success—the result of sustained process improvement and a deep commitment to providing quality care for children—dovetails with primary care redesign efforts across UW Health.
88 Percent Up to Date by Age Two
Immunization is an important quality indicator in primary care, said Steven Koslov, MD, a clinical professor and clinical director of the Department of Pediatrics’ Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
“Immunization has a major impact on the health of a population,” he explained, “and it is very clear from the literature that standardizing immunization processes leads to better outcomes.”
Over the past five years, UW Health pediatric primary care clinics have developed protocols to identify immunization opportunities at well-child and other types of clinic visits.
The protocols were created though established UW Health processes, which include evidence review and input from the UW Health immunization task force, and reflect immunization schedules recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Immunization Practices.
The results? An initial chart audit showed that in 2012, the eight pediatric primary care clinics had an overall immunization rate of 88 percent for children up to age two, exceeding the institutional goal of 85 percent.
Integrating Process and Technology
According to Dr. Koslov, the keys to process improvement have been shared commitment, data collection and sharing, previsit planning, and staff education.
The next step, he said, is to further enhance those improvements through the use of technology.
That’s why efforts are underway to create immunization health maintenance alerts in patients’ electronic health records (EHRs). When fully implemented, the alerts will notify clinic staff at every visit when a child—of any age—is due for an immunization update.
“Health maintenance alerts will allow us to completely standardize and automate the process,” Dr. Koslov said, “so we can provide patients with the best possible care at every clinic.”