Study shows ways to improve vaccination rates

A new study suggests that assigning vaccination responsibilities to healthcare facility office staff and having clinicians remind patients about the need for immunizations may improve influenza and pneumococcal vaccination rates.

Researchers from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, looked at 106 different studies undertaken in both Canada and the United States to conduct their analysis. The results are published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.

The scientists concluded that a variety of quality improvement designed changes could lead to a modest increase in overall vaccination rates. Team change, patient outreach and clinical reminders proved especially effective in improving influenza and pneumococcal vaccination rates.

"We found that interventions involving team change were effective, especially where nurses had been assigned responsibilities for administering vaccine," the researchers said. "Configuring additional personnel so that they are able to relieve physicians of vaccinations seems important to successful team change.

"Additionally, patient outreach may better increase vaccinations to the extent that direct personal contact is achieved. A previous review has similarly reported that reminders involving person-to-person telephone contact were most effective."

Audit and feedback were shown to be more effective in increasing influenza vaccination rates, while clinician reminders and vaccination education helped more in increasing pneumococcal vaccination rates.