Designing and implementing a hospital-based vaccine standing orders program

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2007 May 15;64(10):1096-102. doi: 10.2146/ajhp060321.


Purpose: An inpatient pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) vaccination program was designed and implemented to meet federal and state regulatory requirements and national vaccination goals.

Summary: In 2002, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published a final rule removing the federal requirement for an individual patient physician-signed order for the pneumococcal and influenza vaccines in Medicare- and Medicaid- participating hospitals. This statute authorized implementation of standing orders programs (SOPs) in health care institutions. At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Presbyterian (UPMC-P), institutional vaccination rates and the existing mechanism for providing adult vaccinations were evaluated. At the peak of the program's effectiveness in 2000, in-hospital total vaccination rates were 31%; those rates fell to 15% by the end of 2003. To rectify this poor rate of vaccination, a multidisciplinary team convened to evaluate the existing program and to design the tools and processes for a conversion to a vaccine SOP. A standing order form was designed, and it was determined that the SOP should be pharmacy driven. As a result of the SOP, the PPV vaccination rate increased dramatically; in 2005, the average rate was 69%, with the highest rate occurring in March 2005 (87%).

Conclusion: The cooperative effort of a multidisciplinary work group including physicians, nursing staff, and pharmacy personnel led to the creation of a successful inpatient PPV SOP. Analysis of the previous vaccination program and careful planning were instrumental in designing the SOP. Defined responsibilities for daily performance and user-friendly tools with clear instructions were also crucial to the success of the program.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Aged
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration*
  • Inpatients
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / supply & distribution*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / immunology
  • Program Development


  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial