Immunizations are widely known to be the most cost-effective and successful preventative measure against illness and disease, making it vital for patients to stay up to date on their vaccinations. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the approaching cold and flu season, vaccinations are especially crucial. Limited not only to COVID-19, a wide range of diseases that used to kill infants, children, and adults can now be easily and safely prevented with routine immunizations.
August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), a national observance that recognizes the importance of vaccinations for patients of all demographics.
Disparities in vaccination coverage–specifically COVID-19 vaccinations rates–reveal the staggering effects of social determinants of health (SDOH) on various patient populations. One fifth of the U.S. population lives in rural areas and are subject to a number of barriers to vaccination, while those in urban areas are not affected nearly as significantly.
It can be challenging for providers to ensure that patients receive the appropriate immunizations in a timely manner. Electronic Health Records are just one of the tools that can help clinicians monitor a patient’s vaccination status. MEDITECH’s Patient Registries, now part of Expanse Care Compass, helps manage this by providing a dynamic list of patients who are due or overdue for immunizations.
Our patient registry tool helps clinicians proactively follow up with patients based on the recommended immunization schedule, to ensure safe and effective disease prevention. Registries show the date of the most recent immunization administered and when the next is due. Clinicians can easily examine patient records for further details and directly communicate with patients through MEDITECH’s Patient and Consumer Health Portal.
Immunizations against preventable disease are especially important for children, as the CDC reports that their vaccine ordering data is down 14% in 2020-2021. MEDITECH’s Pediatric Immunization Care registry is built to follow NIAM recommendations by displaying a range of advised immunizations based on age. Every vaccine is identified with an accurate corresponding administration schedule.
The ability to filter registries based on specific criteria, such as an upcoming appointment or overdue immunization, also helps ensure the timeliness of necessary vaccinations. This ambulatory practice allows providers to identify specific patients requiring outreach and schedule the appropriate vaccine administration. Clinicians can even filter patient lists to prioritize the most at-risk patients, such as the elderly or the immunocompromised.
The information made available by registries supports open communication among patients and physicians. This interactive aspect helps foster stronger relationships between patients and providers by encouraging them to work together to ensure that immunizations are administered promptly and that patients remain protected against the spread of vaccine-preventable disease.
The CDC offers a number of resources for teen and adult immunizations as well, equipping the public with valuable guidelines to protect against disease. With the pandemic, it is likely that typical immunization schedules were disrupted, but NIAM provides a useful opportunity to keep recommended vaccinations a routine part of a patient’s health maintenance.
Visit the CDC’s NIAM website to learn more about National Immunization Awareness Month and the steps you can take to educate your community about vaccines.
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