Consider implementing one or more of the following strategies to improve immunization rates in your office.
Standing orders for immunizations include office policies, procedures, and orders to provide recommended immunizations to patients. For example, a standing order might be in place to instruct health care personnel (as allowed by the state) to give a specific vaccine to all patients for whom the vaccine is recommended based on the harmonized immunization schedule. Standing orders should include procedures for vaccinating eligible patients and contraindications. Access sample standing orders for vaccines. 1.
1 The Community Guide. Community Preventive Services Task Force (http://www.thecommunityguide.org/vaccines/standingorders.html).
Provider prompts usually consist of electronic prompts in Electronic Health Records (EHRs) or notes/flags in paper charts. Most EHR provider prompts are automatic pop-up alerts that notify the viewer that the patient is due/overdue for an immunization. Other EHR provider prompts may show up as a “to-do” task, even if the patient is not scheduled that day for an appointment. Many EHRs have provider prompts pre-installed that can be customized in the office. Notes/flags in paper charts must be added manually, after review of the chart for due vaccines.
Hold Family-friendly Office Hours
Holding vaccination clinics with special hours (evening or Saturday) at your practice allows for more opportunities for busy adolescents and their parents to access vaccination services. This has been proven to work especially well for influenza vaccine. While other recommended vaccines, such as Tdap, HPV, and meningococcal should be given during the 11 or 12 year old well-child care visit – when parents will be given the opportunity to discuss the vaccines – shorter vaccination visits for subsequent doses of HPV and influenza may be more convenient.
Assign an Immunization Champion for Your Practice
An immunization champion can serve as a steward and advocate of immunizations in your practice. This role can be filled by any clinical staff. Being the immunization champion should be written into that job description and that staff should have time devoted to perform those tasks. Offices should cross-train staff and appoint a different person to fill-in and complete these duties in case the immunization champion is unavailable. It is also suggested, if the immunization champion is not a physician, that a physician provides oversight to the immunization champion. An immunization champion would be responsible for the following:
- Unloading, stocking, and monitoring vaccines
- Vaccine ordering
- Managing vaccine inventory
- Implementing office-wide strategies to increase vaccination coverage
Learn more about strategies to help improve immunization rates here.