Objective: To describe collaborative efforts to develop best practice operational guidelines for immunization information systems (IIS) and discuss awareness, acceptance, and utilization of the guidelines by the IIS community.
Design: Business analysis and facilitation techniques were used to support collaboration among IIS stakeholders who analyzed existing practices, brainstormed new approaches, and developed consensus-based recommendations. The guideline development process and its impact on IIS were evaluated using a postworkshop questionnaire, the IIS Annual Report, and an online survey for one of the guidelines.
Setting: Immunization information systems domain in the United States.
Participants: Staff from IIS; federal agencies; state, regional, and county health departments; privately run registries; and vendors/consultants.
Main Outcome Measure(s): These included (1) completion of best practice guidelines; (2) degree of satisfaction among the participating IIS stakeholders with the work process and outcomes, interest, and willingness to implement best practice guidelines in their own IIS; (3) awareness and use of, as well as satisfaction with, the guidelines for patient active/inactive immunization status among IIS; and (4) acceptance and implementation of best practice guidelines across the US IIS.
Results: Since 2005, operational guidelines (that contain best practice recommendations) have been developed for 5 IIS functional areas: reminder/recall notifications, data quality assurance, vaccination level deduplication, management of patient active/inactive status, and adverse events reporting. Immunization information systems stakeholders who participated in the development of the recommendations expressed a high level of satisfaction with the process and the recommendations. Based on IIS Annual Report data, from 2007 to 2009 use of the guidelines increased from 46% to 80% of IIS.
Conclusions: Best practice recommendations offer practical guidelines on the most challenging operational areas for IIS. Initial evidence indicates adoption of the recommendations and satisfaction with the development process. Additional studies are needed to assess the degree of guidelines use across the IIS community.