New automated electronic alerts boosted Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) vaccination rates in clinics, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Health System published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Guidelines recommend that adolescents and adults aged ≥11 years receive a single dose of Tdap vaccine as a booster immunization even if they have had a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccine in the past 10 years. The new electronic prompt-and-reminder system, developed at 5 University of Michigan family medicine clinics, alerted patients aged 11–64 years who needed the Tdap booster vaccine between 2008–2011. Use of the new electronic alert system led to 76% of 31,195 patients aged 19–64, and 85% of 3,278 patients aged 11–18 being up-to-date on their Tdap immunization.

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Only 59% of similarly aged adults were up-to-date in the same time period in clinics that did not utilize the the automated prompt system. Tdap vaccination rates for patients seen but who had not yet received one also increased from 16% to 47% in the clinics.

Lead author Cameron G. Shultz, PhD, MSW, concluded that the integration of automatic documentation and reminder system into the routine prevention significantly changed and improved the provision of these services. He notes, “these types of changes may potentially also help improve outcomes for other health initiatives, including preventive care, disease screening, and chronic disease management.”

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