New Advice on Childhood Immunization

August 28, 2023 · Andy Reynolds

A new resource aims to help care teams reverse the decline in immunization rates for children and young adults.

Our Pediatric and Adolescent Immunization: Best Practices and Resource Guide is the result of a 12-month Learning Collaborative of four Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), convened by NCQA and sponsored by Pfizer.

Vaccinations in a Slump 

The immunization guide comes as public health leaders grapple with declining vaccination rates.

Child and adolescent vaccinations are one of the most effective strategies for supporting healthy communities, and vaccination coverage is high among infants and young children.

But that’s not the case for older kids and adolescents. Vaccination levels fall below recommended targets in those groups. And the gap widened during the pandemic.

The Guide

Our new guide captures advice and experiences from all four participating FQHCs. Besides summarizing lessons of the Learning Collaborative, the guide is a toolkit.

It includes links to resources that can help clinicians apply best practices and overcome challenges in getting kids immunized.

The Guide also includes a series of quality improvement worksheets and templates that walk quality champions through key steps, notably:

  • The plan-do-study-act process.
  • Assessments to help quality leaders expand their plans and measure progress.

We hope guide will inspire organizations—particularly other FQHCs—to use to use quality improvement principles to improve care.

We also encourage sharing of the guide with organizations and care teams interested in lifting childhood vaccination rates.

Modeling Improvement

Convened by NCQA and sponsored by Pfizer, the Learning Collaborative used an improvement model advocated by our longtime colleagues at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

It relies on the science of quality improvement and an iterative “plan-do-study-act” process. Three questions test change, learning and improvement:

  • What are we trying to improve?
  • How will we know that a change is an improvement?
  • What changes can we make that will result in improvement?

This approach helps users build an effective, sustainable immunization improvement program.

Quality Coaching

NCQA coached participating FQHCs to lean on Healthcare Effectiveness Data Information Set (HEDIS®). Two measures can inform quality improvement interventions:

Participating FCHCs used the measures to track the effects of programs and drive improvement.

Looking Ahead

Soon we will convene a roundtable on improving adult immunization rates. We plan to produce a white paper that summarizes what we learn.

Meanwhile, download the Pediatric and Adolescent Immunization: Best Practices and Resource Guide.

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