Background: The University of Chicago Medical Center’s Pediatric Immunization Program (PIP), founded in 1993, maintains a healthy child by educating parents about immunizations and their importance and conducting field outreach using a reminder-recall system to ensure children are up-to-date with their immunizations and well child exams.
Setting: Birthing units, residences, and “medical homes” of babies born at four hospitals in the city of Chicago.
Population: Inner city Chicago mothers and their newborns.
Project Description: Four initial studies (PIP 1-4) each enrolled 200 newborns. PIP 1 and 2 lost >50% enrollees because of too narrow a catchment area. PIP 3 and 4 followed children anywhere in Chicago. PIP 5 will expand further geographically from one to four hospitals and enrollment of a cohort of 650 begins 2010. Of the PIP enrollees who remained in PIP till graduation, 100% of PIP 1 and 2, 93% of PIP 3, and 55% of PIP 4 enrollees, respectively, were up-to-date with their immunization schedules as of winter 2009.
Results/Lessons Learned: The population served by PIP changes addresses and clinics often and has transportation and functioning phone limitations. We are solving challenges in this highly mobile population by texting mothers about clinic appointments, conducting outreach in evenings and weekends in addition to weekdays, hiring new outreach specialists to match local population demographics, advocating the use of the I-CARE Illinois state immunization registry system, emphasizing ongoing vaccine education, tracking and evaluating progress with an Internet-based healthcare management software database called “Velos,” creating an online training certificate course for local immunization advocates to tailor PIP to their community’s population and needs, exploring the use of PDAs for collecting data in real-time while in the field, and investigating whether the use of incentives makes a difference in retention.