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One Percent of HHCMG Vaccines May Be Ineffective, Audit Concludes

Some vaccines and tuberculosis tests provided at several Hartford HealthCare Medical Group health centers may not have been stored in accordance with manufacturers’ recommended temperature guidelines.

Although this causes no harm to patients, temperature fluctuations may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines, so the medical group is recommending that the 953 patients affected receive a second vaccine or tuberculosis test free of charge.

Overall, this represents approximately 1 percent of vaccines given by the medical group. The group is contacting the patients affected.

The temperature fluctuations were found when Hartford HealthCare recently enacted a proactive auditing program for all of its locations that provide vaccinations. These patients received flu, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, pneumococcal, hepatitis B, and meningococcal vaccines at the Plainville, Vernon, Colchester, Norwichtown and Duncaster locations. The tuberculosis testing was done at the Montville, Wallingford, Norwich-West Side, Manchester and Meriden sites.

Patients who would like more information, or make an appointment for a second vaccination, can call 877-707-4442. A website with answers to frequently asked questions and other information is available at www.hartfordhealthcaremedicalgroup.org/vaccines.

“First and foremost, we realize this is an inconvenience for our patients and thank them for their patience,” said Dr. Jack Ross, Hartford HealthCare’s Chief of Infectious Diseases. “Hartford HealthCare prides itself on being a high reliability organization. Our continued focus on reducing medical errors and improving the quality of care sometimes results in finding errors and making changes to help ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

“That’s exactly what happened in this circumstance — a new enhanced auditing process revealed temperature fluctuations and this finding allowed us to implement best practices and redundant protocols at all our health centers to help prevent this from happening again.”

Specifically, Hartford HealthCare has taken these steps:

  • On site re-education of staff at all locations
  • Daily temperature log recording and reporting
  • Monthly review of temperature logs
  • Periodic on-site vaccine storage audits
  • Ongoing standardization and placement of digital temperature data recorders at all sites without them
  • Researching new technology for central monitoring system with real time alerts for all sites.

 

Hartford HealthCare Medical Group is one of the largest multi-specialty groups in Connecticut with more than 400 physicians and advanced practitioners. Our convenient office locations across the state provide exceptional, coordinated care to patients with the latest technology and superior primary and specialty care services. Hartford HealthCare Medical Group is affiliated with five hospitals – Hartford Hospital, MidState Medical Center, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, Windham Hospital and Backus Hospital.