Routinely measuring and reporting pneumococcal vaccination among immunosuppressed rheumatology outpatients: The first step in improving quality

Sonali P. Desai, Alexander Turchin, Lara E. Szent-Gyorgyi, Michael Weinblatt, Jonathan Coblyn, Daniel H. Solomon, Allen Kachalia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends pneumococcal vaccination for immunocompromised patients. Data suggest that rates of vaccination in this population are not optimal. To support continuous quality improvement efforts, we electronically measured vaccination status among rheumatology outpatients over time. Methods: Using data from administrative (billing) and electronic health record sources, we identified rheumatology clinic patients seen between 1 February 2008 and 31 January 2010 and prescribed an immunosuppressive medication. CDC recommendations for pneumococcal vaccination were applied. We calculated the proportion of eligible patients who were up-to-date with pneumococcal vaccination: (i) while on an immunosuppressive medication and (ii) before newly starting an immunosuppressive medication in the last 12 months. Results: We identified 2763 rheumatology clinic patients on immunosuppressive medications, with 568 initiated in the last 12 months. The mean age was 57 years, 75% were female and 77% were Caucasian. The most frequent disease was RA (50%) and the most common immunosuppressive medication was MTX (59%). Of patients on immunosuppressive medications, 1491/2763 (54%) were up to date with pneumococcal vaccination. Among new initiators of immunosuppressive medications, 258/568 (45%) were vaccinated before starting the immunosuppressive medication. Patients treated by rheumatologists in practice for 10 years were more likely to be up to date with pneumococcal vaccination (72%) than those with providers in practice >10 years (52%, P < 0.001). Conclusion: The proportion of patients who are up to date with documented pneumococcal vaccination was suboptimal in our rheumatology practice. The ability to continuously repeat electronic measurement permits us to initiate continuous quality improvement efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberkeq297
Pages (from-to)366-372
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunosuppression
  • Pneumococcal vaccination
  • Quality improvement
  • Quality measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Routinely measuring and reporting pneumococcal vaccination among immunosuppressed rheumatology outpatients: The first step in improving quality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this