Reducing risk of vaccine errors by following the health service policies
Health professionals (HPs) are reminded to be vigilant when checking vaccines prior to administering them to reduce the risk of errors occurring. Several issues have been identified that may contribute to this and therefore (HPs) are reminded to follow health service policies in regards to administration of vaccines. This includes:
- Checking client vaccine history in the clinic database
- Checking with the NT Department of Health Centre for Disease Control (CDC) via phone or log into the NT Immunisation Records database
- Have a second clinician check both client notes and vaccines selected against the NT Immunisation schedule. This second person must be attentive and not distracted.
It has been acknowledged by CDC that there may be a lag time of 1-2 weeks of manually entering the vaccines given at the clinic (entered into Primary Care Information System (PCIS) or Communicare to be uploaded on to the NT Immunisations Records database. It has also been identified that databases between neighbouring clinics may not be linked and thus vaccine history appearing at one clinic database may represent what has been given at another neighbouring clinic. There appears to be a window of time where there is an inherent increased risk of vaccine errors and the CDC acknowledges that the system is not completely perfect.
HPs have a duty of care to ensure all reasonable measures are taken to reduce the risk of vaccine errors. In order to reduce the risks of inadvertent duplication of immunisations, HPs are encouraged to ask Health Centre managers if the clinic databases are linked and if not, they are encouraged to call neighbouring clinics to check the vaccine history prior to administration.
HPs are also encouraged to log off the PCIS or Communicare database if they are away from their terminal for an extended period of time in order to reduce the risk of other health professionals inadvertently entering notes under their name. This is also a reminder that HPs are not to share their password or access to PCIS or Communicare with others.