ObjectiveImmunisation coverage of children b19 months of age in US primary care practices is below the desired goal of 80%. In order to improve this rate, primary care providers must first understand the specific processes of immunisation delivery within their office settings. This paper aims to identify key components in identifying strategies for quality improvement (QI) of immunisation delivery. MethodsWe surveyed a South Carolina Pediatric Practice Research Network (SCPPRN) representative for each of six paediatric practices. The surveys included questions regarding immunisation assessment, medical record keeping, opportunities for immunisation administration and prompting. Subsequently, research staff visited the participating practices to directly observe their immunisation delivery process and review patient charts in order to validate survey responses and identify areas for QI. ResultsMost survey responses were verified using direct observation of actual practice or chart review. However, observation of actual practice and chart review identified key areas for improvement of immunisation delivery. Although four practices responded that they prompted for needed immunisations at sick visits, only one did so. We also noted considerable variation among and within practices in terms of immunising with all indicated vaccines during sick visits. In addition, most practices had multiple immunisation forms and all administered immunisations were not always recorded on all forms, making it difficult to determine a child’s immunisation status. ConclusionsFor any QI procedure, including immunization delivery, providers must first understand how the process within their practice actually occurs. Direct observation of immunisation processes and medical record review enhances survey responses in identifying areas for improvement. This study identified several opportunities that practices can use to improve immunisation delivery, particularly maintaining accurate and easy-to-locate immunisation records and prompting for needed immunisations during sick visits.
James R Roberts, Katherine D Freeland, Maureen S Kolasa, James T McElligott, Paul M Darden