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Increasing Pneumococcal Vaccination Rates Among Hospitalized Patients

  • Mary Patricia Nowalk (a1), Donald B. Middleton (a1) (a2), Richard K. Zimmerman (a1), Mary M. Hess (a3) (a4), Susan J. Skledar (a3) and Marjorie A. Jacobs (a2)...



To increase the proportion of inpatients vaccinated against pneumococcal infection.


Pre- and post-intervention study.


University medical center–affiliated, suburban community teaching hospital.


Unvaccinated inpatients 65 years and older and those 2 to 64 years old who had chronic medical conditions predisposing them to invasive pneumococcal infection.


The nursing staff screened newly admitted patients for eligibility based on age, diagnosis, or medications from a computer-generated admissions list and placed a pre-printed order form for the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) on the charts of eligible patients. Following the physician's order, the nursing staff administered the PPV and recorded it. Ongoing quality improvements including admission vaccination screening and computer-based record keeping were initiated to identify unvaccinated eligible patients and track vaccination status.


Efforts resulted in rates of in-hospital vaccination ranging from 3.1% to 7.9% (mean, 5.2% ± 1.7% [standard deviation]) and significant improvements in the assessment of previous vaccination status, reaching 54% of eligible patients after 1 year. Ascertainment of a previous vaccination increased significantly following the initiation of the use of admission forms that specifically assessed vaccination status and a system to permanently record vaccination status in an electronic medical record (P < .05).


Concerted efforts using electronic medical records significantly improved the assessment and documentation of inpatient vaccination status. Greater improvement of the rates of in-hospital vaccination will require healthcare system–wide efforts such as a standing order policy for vaccinating all eligible patients. Standing orders for inpatient immunization supported by effective assessment and tracking systems have the potential to raise vaccination rates to the goals of Healthy People 2010 (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2003;24:526-531)


Corresponding author

Department of Family Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, 3518 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15261


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Increasing Pneumococcal Vaccination Rates Among Hospitalized Patients

  • Mary Patricia Nowalk (a1), Donald B. Middleton (a1) (a2), Richard K. Zimmerman (a1), Mary M. Hess (a3) (a4), Susan J. Skledar (a3) and Marjorie A. Jacobs (a2)...


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