Why is this measure important?
Fully immunizing children according to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics helps protect children from many common infections, which can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications. Immunization also prevents children from passing these infections on to others, including their parents and grandparents.
How do we track this measure?
We track the immunization rates of children 24-36 months of age who are seen in the Boston Children’s Hospital Primary Care Center (CHPCC). The CHPCC provides primary care services to more than 12,000 infants, children and young adults annually. We also track a modified rate, which leaves out children whose parents refused vaccinations for religious or personal reasons or who came into the practice after their 1st birthdays.
How do we compare to other hospitals?
Because not all hospitals post their immunization rates, it is impossible to compare our immunization rate with those of other children’s hospitals. Instead, we look at national and Massachusetts statistics on childhood immunization to measure our performance. Since the Massachusetts immunization rate is higher than the national rate, we use the Massachusetts rate as our benchmark.
As of the first quarter of 2012, our overall immunization rate was 92%, an improvement from previous years. This was significantly higher than the Massachusetts and national immunization rates.
When we leave out children whose parents refused vaccinations or who came into the practice after their 1st birthday, our immunization rate was 94%, which is also an increase from previous years.
What are we doing to improve?
We are making a greater effort to identify two-year-olds who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations and tracking them until they receive the appropriate vaccinations. We are also focusing on children 15-23 months of age, who frequently miss being vaccinated.