Purpose: Assess the effectiveness of an immunization verification protocol (IVP) to achieve and document pneumococcal vaccination of patients with cochlear implants.
Study design: Chart review.
Setting: Academic tertiary medical center.
Patients: Pediatric patients with cochlear implants (n = 76).
Outcome measures: 1) Status of pneumococcal immunization for cochlear implant patients, before and after initiation of the IVP; 2) final number of existing cochlear implant patients successfully immunized after institution of the IVP; and 3) effectiveness of communication between our office and patient/parent or pediatrician.
Results: Subjects were grouped according to whether their cochlear implantation was performed before (Group 1, n = 63) or after (Group 2, n = 18) initiation of the IVP in September 2010. In the 28 months between IVP initiation and January 2013, the number of fully immunized age-eligible patients increased in Group 1 from 2% (n = 1) to 63% (n = 40). Of 18 subjects in Group 2, 56% (n = 10) were fully vaccinated at the time of surgery, and 94% were fully vaccinated at the conclusion of the study (n = 17). Of all 81 children, complete immunization was documented in 70% (n = 57), incomplete documentation was noted in 16% (n = 13); and 14% (n = 11) were lost to follow-up.
Conclusion: It is a challenge to achieve and document immunizations recommended for cochlear implantation, even in a relatively small cochlear implant program. In our practice, those patients who were required to document immunizations before surgery had the highest rates of compliance. Access to a vaccination registry and the ability to administer vaccines in the otolaryngology office also improved compliance.