Delivering Adolescent Vaccinations in the Medical Home: A New Era?
BACKGROUND. Medical homes are health care settings that offer continuous, comprehensive, accessible primary care; these settings generally involve pediatric and family physician practices or community health centers but can also involve gynecologists or internists.
OBJECTIVES. In this article, we review available evidence on the role of the medical home in optimizing adolescent immunization delivery, particularly with respect to health care utilization patterns and barriers to vaccinations in medical homes, and solutions.
METHODS. We conducted a systematic review of the existing immunization and adolescent literature and used a Delphi process to solicit opinions from content experts across the United States.
RESULTS. Most adolescents across the United States do have a medical home, and many pay a health care visit to their medical home within any given year. Barriers exist in regards to the receipt of adolescent immunizations, and they are related to the adolescent/family, health care provider, and health care system. Although few studies have evaluated adolescent vaccination delivery, many strategies recommended for childhood or adult vaccinations should be effective for adolescent vaccination delivery as well. These strategies include education of health care providers and adolescents/parents; having appropriate health insurance coverage; tracking and reminder/recall of adolescents who need vaccination; practice-level interventions to ensure that needed vaccinations are provided to eligible adolescents at the time of any health care visit; practice-level audits to measure vaccination coverage; and linkages across health care sites to exchange information about needed vaccinations. Medical homes should perform a quality improvement project to improve their delivery of adolescent vaccinations. Because many adolescents use a variety of health care sites, it is critical to effectively transfer vaccination information across health care settings to identify adolescents who are eligible for vaccinations and to encourage receipt of comprehensive preventive.
CONCLUSIONS. Medical homes are integral to both the delivery of adolescent immunizations and comprehensive adolescent preventive health care. Many strategies recommended for childhood and adult vaccinations should work for adolescent vaccinations and should be evaluated and implemented if they are successful. By incorporating evidence-based strategies and coordinating effectively with other health care sites used by adolescents, medical homes will be the pivotal settings for the delivery of adolescent vaccinations.
- Accepted August 22, 2007.
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics