Maine’s “First STEPS” Program Results in Substantial Improvement in Child Immunizations

30 Jul 2013
As part of the Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC) Program, the AF4Q Maine Alliance, led by Maine Quality Counts, and the “Quality Counts for Kids” program directed the “First STEPS” (Strengthening Together Early Preventive Services) learning collaborative to support 24 primary care practices in improving their child immunization rates. The Muskie School of Public Service, a distinguished public policy school in Maine, analyzed monthly immunizations reported by participating practices in Maine’s state registry, before and after the learning collaborative, and one year after the start to assess whether improvement over time was notable and sustainable. The organization recently released the final evaluation of “First STEPS” phase one. The results showed that 100 percent of participating practices had higher immunization rates after “First STEPS.” On average, overall child immunization rates increased by more than 5 percent at 12 months, and by more than 7 percent at 15 months. The average immunization rates across practices increased significantly from 74 percent to 81 percent. Additional improvements included using recommended office practices including staff training, procedures, and use of registries.
As part of the “First STEPS” pilot, Maine Quality Counts, along with partner organizations, developed a toolkit of best practices that may be helpful to other practices seeking to improve their immunization rates. Click here to download the toolkit of best practices.