Salud Medical Center in Woodburn is a large community and migrant health center, part of the Yakima Valley Farm Workers (YVFW) organization. Several years ago, YVFW leadership chose childhood immunization rates as a target for process improvement.
They placed protocols in every YVFW clinic that empowered licensed nurses and medical assistants to vaccinate all patients—at any visit—with all needed immunizations.
The responsibility for improving childhood immunization rates falls directly on the nursing supervisor at each clinic. They use CoCasa (CDC software available for free download) to run monthly rates and progress reports, which are then shared with the other clinics and upper management. The clinics have turned this process into a friendly competition with each vying to be number one in the organization. Their efforts are clearly paying off with a phenomenal jump in coverage rates from 43 percent in 2010 to 96 percent in 2012.
Salud’s single vaccine rates also show impressive improvements with every measured vaccine rate exceeding Healthy People 2020 goals.
When asked about their immunization success, Salud’s Christine Wystock, RN, CSN, said it is important to designate a vaccine “champion” willing to live and breathe vaccines. Other keys to higher rates include integrating regular vaccine updates into staff meetings; requiring RNs, LPNs and MAs take an annual vaccine quiz; and pre-visit immunization forecasting for every child, from birth to age 18. Alert IIS is also used regularly to check patients with spotty or missing forecasts.
Christine says that the reward for all this hard work is less about the rates (as nice as they are) and more about the real-world protection that vaccines offer the children and families in their community.