Keeping vaccine records up to date is key to a patient’s lifelong immunity and health. Official childhood vaccination records have been adopted by every state and territory to encourage uniformity, but limited interoperability in healthcare can make recordkeeping a challenge. As a result, responsibility falls on both the patients and providers for managing records throughout the patient’s life.
Patients and providers alike benefit from staying up-to-date with vaccines. Often, the focus is on what patients can do; today, we turn our attention to clinicians. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that clinicians periodically review the seven steps to effective vaccine administration as they play a significant role in vaccine effectiveness.
In early 2017, nearly 900 children in Ocean County, New Jersey faced possible revaccination when state health officials discovered that a pediatrician administered mumps, measles, chicken pox and other vaccines that had been improperly stored. The New Jersey example gives a glimpse into an important question among practices and clinics: how best to store vaccines.
Vaccines save up to three million lives annually, yet more than $20 million in pediatric vaccines alone are wasted each year due to inadequate vaccine refrigeration, according to the U.S. Federal Vaccines for Children Program. Proper storage is pertinent to immunization effectiveness, and physicians must practice vigilant care when handling and dispensing vaccines.
For physician practices, the nature of business is changing. More patients are seeking care at alternative facilities, and more reimbursement for patients’ care is tied to performance metrics. As practices aim to remain profitable today, every penny counts. That’s where vaccine buying groups can assist.