The delivery of immunizations and other preventive services in private practices.
OBJECTIVES: To measure the proportion of children cared for in private practices who are fully immunized and have been screened for anemia, tuberculosis (TB), and lead poisoning by 2 years of age. DESIGN: Cross-sectional chart review. SETTING: Fifteen private pediatric practices in central North Carolina (11 chosen randomly). PATIENTS: One thousand thirty-two randomly selected 2-year-old children. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of children immunized and screened for anemia, TB and lead poisoning by 24 months of age and immunization and screening rates of the practices. RESULTS: Sixty-one percent of the children were fully immunized at 24 months of age; the rates among practices varied widely (38% to 82%). Sixty-eight percent of the children had been screened for anemia, 57% had been screened for TB, and 3% had been screened for lead poisoning. Physicians overestimated the proportions of fully immunized children in their practices by an average of 10% (range, -3% to 17%). The median number of well child visits by 2 years of age was 5 (range, 0 to 14), and only 19% of the entire sample made 8 or more well child visits, the number recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the first 18 months of life. The numbers of well child and non-well child visits were the strongest predictors of complete immunization. Practice characteristics associated with being fully immunized included the use of preventive services prompting sheets (eg, flow sheets) in the medical records, not seeing the same physician for all well child care, and having nurses review patients' immunization status during their visits to the office. CONCLUSIONS: Underimmunization and inadequate screening are significant problems in private pediatric practices in North Carolina. Physicians are unaware of the rates of underimmunization in their offices.
Bordley, WC; Margolis, PA; Lannon, CM
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