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Ambul Pediatr. 2004 Jan-Feb;4(1):34-40.

Using an immunization registry: effect on practice costs and time.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, University of Colorado Health Scienes Center, Denver 80262, USA.



Immunization registries can consolidate immunization records scattered among different providers, allowing immunization documentation for legal purposes, generation of needed-immunization lists, inventory management, and outreach for underimmunized children. They have been endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health professionals as a means of sustaining high immunization rates. However, some providers perceive the cost of registry use as a barrier to participation. We sought to determine the effects of registry use on cost and time.


We used a pre-post design and a cost-accounting approach to measure labor costs and time for immunization-related activities possibly affected by registry use before development of a regional registry in Colorado and after the registry was being fully used. Two rural family practices, 2 rural community health centers (CHCs), 3 urban pediatric practices, and 2 rural public health agencies participated in both periods.


Cost per shot increased slightly in the postregistry period for private practices and CHCs ($0.56 per shot in 2001 dollars) and public health agencies ($0.38). Since costs can increase for several reasons, including salary increases above inflation, we analyzed time spent per shot and found that staff time decreased for private practices and CHCs but increased substantially for public health agencies.


The study findings suggest to private practices that registry participation can provide a net benefit by making the vaccination process more efficient and, absent above-average salary increases, less costly. Public health agencies, however, would have to rely exclusively on the registry and eschew the use of paper vaccination records to realize efficiencies seen by other practice types.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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