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Improving pneumococcal vaccination rates

With the number of clinical quality measures required today, there is an abundance of data. But what should we do with all of this information? Sometimes physician practices can struggle with converting a data report into an improved outcome.

I ran across a recent example of a data-driven initiative that was both simple and effective. It’s a collaborative health-improvement model (funded by a grant from Pfizer), and it focused on increasing pneumococcal vaccination rates. And it worked beautifully.

Dashboards and online education programs…do they work?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the pneumococcal vaccine for children younger than 5 years old, all adults 65 years or older, and other people with certain medical conditions. It protects against pneumococcal disease, a serious infection that can cause pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.

This program engaged more than 300 primary care physicians from three health systems, including Allscripts client Holston Medical Group (HMG) in Kingsport, Tennessee. In particular, this program studied how access to two resources affected vaccination rates:

  • Clinical performance dashboard – Showed each participant’s clinical performance over time and compared with a baseline.
  • Online educational activities – Targeted performance gaps, and this one activity counted for continuing medical education (CME), Maintenance of Certification (MOC, Part IV) and other quality improvement requirements.

The results showed that both resources made a difference. Aggregated, de-identified data showed increases in Holston Medical Group’s vaccination rates:


      Clinical Performance     

(Dashboard Only)

      Clinical Performance      

(Dashboard + CME)

Patients 65+








At the conclusion of the two-year study, the three medical groups vaccinated a total of 14,760 elderly patients and 8,944 high-risk patients post baseline. In five out of six assessments, those physicians who participated in CME showed a greater improvement than those who did not.

This pilot program deserves all the positive attention it is getting. The data is straightforward to collect from Allscripts TouchWorks® EHR, the reports are easy to digest, and the interventions are non-controversial and demonstrably effective in increasing immunization rates. Physicians benefit from a quality improvement project that meets regulatory, CME and MOC requirements while improving care for patients and making use of the EHR to do so. Kudos to HMG for participating in this elegant pilot program.

To learn more about HMG’s success with value-based initiatives, download a free case study.

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