Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a disorder in which an aberrant immune response in a genetically susceptible host, with influences from environmental factors, leads to intestinal inflammation. Vaccines against influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia are indicated for all patients with IBD, while vaccines such as hepatitis A and B, human papillomavirus, and meningococcal meningitis are only indicated for patients with specific risk factor profiles. Some vaccines are contraindicated for patients receiving immunosuppressive medications; typically, these are live or live attenuated vaccines such as measles-mumps-rubella, varicella zoster, and herpes zoster. Given the importance of ensuring patients with IBD are properly vaccinated, we designed a quality improvement project to determine the perceived barriers to ordering these vaccines and to make the process easier.
Methods: At the outset of the study, providers in our gastroenterology department who treat patients with IBD received a survey about vaccinations. Based on the preintervention survey responses, we created an order panel in our electronic medical record (Epic Systems Corporation) to facilitate vaccination ordering. This order panel prompted physicians to order the vaccinations and informed them of contraindications. At the end of the 2-month implementation period, we distributed a second survey to assess the utility of the order panel.
Results: Respondents generally agreed that the Epic SmartSet order panel made vaccinations easier to order, ensured physician confidence in ordering vaccinations, was helpful for use in practice, made the clinic more efficient, and reminded physicians which vaccinations are contraindicated because of immunosuppression. Respondents were divided regarding whether a greater number of patients with IBD were actually receiving vaccinations after the order panel was implemented.
Conclusion: We used the order entry function in Epic to facilitate vaccination ordering for patients with IBD. Our results indicate that the order panel we built made ordering vaccinations easier and more efficient compared to the previous process. We hope this order panel promotes improved patient care and becomes a future area of study for how Epic and other electronic health records may be used.
Keywords: Inflammatory bowel diseases; quality improvement; vaccination.