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Open Access Research article

Private provider participation in statewide immunization registries

Sarah J Clark1*, Anne E Cowan1 and Diana L Bartlett2

Author Affiliations

1 Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit, Division of General Pediatrics, University of Michigan, 300 North Ingalls Rm 6E06, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109-0456, USA

2 Immunization Services Division, National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:33  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-33

Published: 15 February 2006

Abstract

Background

Population-based registries have been promoted as an effective method to improve childhood immunization rates, yet rates of registry participation in the private sector are low. We sought to describe, through a national overview, the perspectives of childhood immunization providers in private practice regarding factors associated with participation or non-participation in immunization registries.

Methods

Two mailed surveys, one for 264 private practices identified as registry non-participants and the other for 971 identified as registry participants, from 15 of the 31 states with population-based statewide immunization registries. Frequency distributions were calculated separately for non-participants and participants regarding the physician-reported factors that influenced decisions related to registry participation. Pearson chi-square tests of independence were used to assess associations among categorical variables.

Results

Overall response rate was 62% (N = 756). Among non-participants, easy access to records of vaccines provided at other sites (N = 101, 68%) and printable immunization records (N = 82, 55%) were most often cited as "very important" potential benefits of a registry, while the most commonly cited barriers to participation were too much cost/staff time (N = 36, 38%) and that the practice has its own system for recording and monitoring immunizations (N = 35, 37%). Among registry participants, most reported using the registry to input data on vaccines administered (N = 326, 87%) and to review immunization records of individual patients (N = 302, 81%). A minority reported using it to assess their practice's immunization coverage (N = 110, 29%) or generate reminder/recall notices (N = 54, 14%). Few participants reported experiencing "significant" problems with the registry; the most often cited was cost/staff time to use the registry (N = 71, 20%).

Conclusion

Most registry participants report active participation with few problems. The problems they report are generally consistent with the barriers anticipated by non-participants, but did not impede participation. Recruitment efforts should focus on demonstrating the benefits of the registry to providers. In addition, many participants are not utilizing the full range of registry features; further study is needed to determine how best to increase use of these features.