Objective: To determine the impact of interventions using standing orders and computerized reminders to physicians on inpatient pneumococcal vaccination rates relative to a control group.
Design: Open trial of the following approaches, each on a different ward: (1) standing orders for vaccination of eligible consenting patients, (2) computerized reminders to physicians, and (3) usual practice.
Setting and patients: Four hundred twenty-four patients were admitted to three 30-bed inpatient medical wards during a 4-month period in 1999 at one hospital. Unvaccinated patients 65 years or older and competent to give oral consent were included.
Intervention: A pharmacist activated a standing orders protocol for vaccination of all eligible consenting patients on one ward and computerized reminders to physicians on a second ward. A third ward served as a control group.
Results: Forty-two patients met inclusion criteria and accepted vaccination in the standing orders arm versus 35 patients in the computerized reminder arm. Vaccination rates on the standing orders ward included 98% of those eligible and accepting vaccination, 73% of eligible patients, and 28% of all patients admitted. Rates on the computerized reminder ward were 23%, 15%, and 7%, respectively. All of the rates from the standing orders ward were significantly greater than those from the computerized reminder ward (P < .0001). Only 0.6% of all patients on the control arm were vaccinated.
Conclusion: Although both interventions were effective in increasing inpatient pneumococcal vaccination rates relative to baseline practice, physician independent initiation of standing orders was clearly more effective.