In the United States, routinely recommended vaccinations for influenza (flu), pneumococcal, tetanus, and shingles are cost-effective treatments that can be used to prevent high-incidence conditions that widely affect older adults. The immunizations are widely available in ambulatory care and community settings, and are covered by health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Despite this, vaccination rates among older adults are substantially lower than targets set by the Healthy People 2020 initiative, a program created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to achieve a number of national health related goals including increasing immunization rates and reducing preventable infectious diseases. CDC taskforce recommendations for addressing this problem have identified several key focus areas, including provider or system based interventions.
Using the Practice Fusion Electronic Health Record (EHR) platform as an example, the white paper provides a case study of how information systems can efficiently and economically impact adult vaccination rates through workflow-integrated messaging and reminders in an electronic health records system. The white paper illustrates a case study outlining the use of information systems to provide point-of-care recommendations and reminders embedded in the clinical workflow.
In line with the CDC and Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommendations, an influenza and pneumococcal vaccination alert program for older patients was implemented on the Practice Fusion EHR platform to assist providers in improving vaccination coverage. The goal of the program, sponsored by Pfizer, was to assist in increasing immunization rates and reducing preventable influenza and pneumococcal infections among older adults, and measure those results.
With the introduction of the program, both flu and pneumococcal vaccination rose significantly.
Among unvaccinated older patients during a five-month period the program helped achieve an 113% increase in pneumococcal vaccine administration and a 33% increase in influenza vaccine administration over the previous year’s rate.
the program helped achieve an 113% increase in pneumococcal vaccine administration and a 33% increase in influenza administration over the previous year’s rate
The increase in vaccination rates among eligible older patients demonstrates how EHRs continue to move beyond a simple proxy for paper records and can surface clinically relevant information to physicians and thereby help physicians to provide better preventative care for patients.