Importance: Hospitalized children are at increased risk of influenza-related complications, yet influenza vaccine coverage remains low among this group. Evidence-based strategies about vaccination of vulnerable children during all health care visits are especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Objective: To design and evaluate a clinical decision support (CDS) strategy to increase the proportion of eligible hospitalized children who receive a seasonal influenza vaccine prior to inpatient discharge.
Design, setting, and participants: This quality improvement study was conducted among children eligible for the seasonal influenza vaccine who were hospitalized in a tertiary pediatric health system providing care to more than half a million patients annually in 3 hospitals. The study used a sequential crossover design from control to intervention and compared hospitalizations in the intervention group (2019-2020 season with the use of an intervention order set) with concurrent controls (2019-2020 season without use of an intervention order set) and historical controls (2018-2019 season with use of an order set that underwent intervention during the 2019-2020 season).
Interventions: A CDS intervention was developed through a user-centered design process, including (1) placing a default influenza vaccine order into admission order sets for eligible patients, (2) a script to offer the vaccine using a presumptive strategy, and (3) just-in-time education for clinicians addressing vaccine eligibility in the influenza order group with links to further reference material. The intervention was rolled out in a stepwise fashion during the 2019-2020 influenza season.
Main outcomes and measures: Proportion of eligible hospitalizations in which 1 or more influenza vaccines were administered prior to discharge.
Results: Among 17 740 hospitalizations (9295 boys [52%]), the mean (SD) age was 8.0 (6.0) years, and the patients were predominantly Black (n = 8943 [50%]) or White (n = 7559 [43%]) and mostly had public insurance (n = 11 274 [64%]). There were 10 997 hospitalizations eligible for the influenza vaccine in the 2019-2020 season. Of these, 5449 (50%) were in the intervention group, and 5548 (50%) were concurrent controls. There were 6743 eligible hospitalizations in 2018-2019 that served as historical controls. Vaccine administration rates were 31% (n = 1676) in the intervention group, 19% (n = 1051) in concurrent controls, and 14% (n = 912) in historical controls (P < .001). In adjusted analyses, the odds of receiving the influenza vaccine were 3.25 (95% CI, 2.94-3.59) times higher in the intervention group and 1.28 (95% CI, 1.15-1.42) times higher in concurrent controls than in historical controls.
Conclusions and relevance: This quality improvement study suggests that user-centered CDS may be associated with significantly improved influenza vaccination rates among hospitalized children. Stepwise implementation of CDS interventions was a practical method that was used to increase quality improvement rigor through comparison with historical and concurrent controls.