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Jt Comm J Qual Improv. 1996 Apr;22(4):277-88.

Using continuous quality improvement tools to improve pediatric immunization rates.

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HealthPartners, Minneapolis, MN 55440-1309, USA.



In August 1992 the medical director of the 19 Group Health medical clinics (now part of HealthPartners) in Minnesota chartered a continuous quality improvement (CQI) team to improve the pediatric (two-year-old) immunization rates. THE TEAM'S WORK: The team created a process flow for the current immunization process, collected data on the process, determined the causes of late or missed immunizations, collected data on children not up-to-date with immunization, analyzed the data, acted on recommendations, and obtained buy-in. The chief reasons for the child's not being up-to-date on immunizations included missed opportunities (when the child is in the clinic receiving care, perhaps for an acute illness, and could have safely received the immunization but did not), no previous visits or chart, and parents instructed to have their child return at two years.


Recommendations pertained to missed opportunities, record keeping, and enhanced patient and provider responsibility. For example, providers were given algorithms for catch-up of patients not on schedule or with incomplete immunizations. Another CQI team was launched to address and simplify the myriad locations in a medical record for recording information on immunizations. An automated vaccine administration record is now being piloted at two clinics.


Immunizations have increased from a mean of 53.5% before the team started to meet to a mean of 86.5% for the most recent four quarters for which data are available.


A problem is best addressed by the very people who will have to bring about the necessary changes for the desired improvements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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