published on May 29, 2018 - 2:54 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Several years ago, Dr. Dee Lacy of Kaiser Permanente, Fresno noticed the severe illness of a 33-year-old patient with meningitis and sepsis. Upon doing so, she learned that his spleen had been removed as a child and that there was a gap in his vaccination history.

“People without a functional spleen are at greater risk of life-threatening infections, so it’s important that they get a series of vaccinations,” she said. “Not only is the dosing schedule complex, but because national vaccine recommendations for asplenia have been evolving, many patients — and sometimes physicians themselves — find it challenging to keep track.”

Dr. Lacy decided that there was a need to better track the vaccinations of Kaiser Permanente patients throughout the Northern California region who were missing spleens to ensure they stay as healthy as possible. This prompted her to develop a vaccination program for asplenic patients helping them stay current with their vaccines.

In 2014, she launched an educational program throughout Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region to encourage physicians, nurses and staff to make sure they were informing asplenic patients about the importance of staying up to date with their vaccinations.

Dr. Lacy also worked with a team to develop a program that scanned the medical records of all members in Northern California and identified those with Asplenia.

“The vaccination program for asplenic patients is a great example of Kaiser Permanente’s mission to prevent severe health care problems,” said Dr. Smita Rouillard, Kaiser Permanente, Fresno’s Physician-in-Chief.

Earlier this month, Dr. Lacy was honored with the 2018 Sidney R. Garfield Exceptional Contribution Award by The Permanente Medical Group for development of systems or programs with a significant impact on patients, colleagues, and the broader community.

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