Convenience and incentives from pharmacy locations in drug and grocery store chains have been helping increase immunization rates. The state immunization registry is a valuable tool for ensuring medical health records are properly updated for primary care providers and pharmacists administering vaccinations.
Great Plains Quality Innovation Network is hosting A Shot in the Arm for Immunization Registry webinar on September 24, 2019, to increase awareness of immunization and highlight the value of proper documentation and tracking among various locations administering vaccinations.
“Immunization rates among adults in the United States remain below envisioned targeted goals for the population,” explained South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care’s Medical Director Stephan Schroeder, MD, CMD, CMQ. “The rates can be enhanced with convenient, easily accessible sites such as dedicated vaccine clinics, pharmacies, workplace and public health facilities. Designed to improve rapid patient flow or remain open during evenings and weekends, these entities remove barriers due to access or cost.”
Immunization is especially important for patients with chronic health conditions and individuals who are 65 years of age and older as they are at increased risk for complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported these key findings related to immunization rates for adults aged 65 and over.
- More than two-thirds had an influenza vaccine in the past 12 months (69.0%)
- More than 6 of 10 had a pneumococcal vaccine (63.6%)
- A little more than one-third had ever had a shingles vaccine (34.2%)
“In my daily professional life, I encounter people who have had shingles and who have stories of extremely painful and long-lasting disease,” shared Jeff Jacobson, Pharm D, pharmacist at Southpointe Pharmacy in Fargo, ND. “Now, we finally have a vaccine that can help prevent that for our patients. This helped to push me to get more engaged to not only advocate for the shingles vaccine, but all recommended vaccinations for our patients.”
Healthcare providers are valued and trusted resources for health information. A recommendation for child and adult vaccination serves as the strongest influence for increasing immunization rates. Great Plains QIN is actively working with providers, patients, partners and stakeholders to implement best practices to increase immunization rates for influenza, pneumococcal disease and herpes zoster.
“I think we, as pharmacists, do a pretty good job of educating our patients. Hopefully, if we are doing our part, our patients benefit from the recommendations,” Jacobson added. “Our numbers with the state of North Dakota and the Immunization Information System (IIS) have improved greatly over the past few years. Although, we still have a ways to go to achieve the vaccination goals set forth by the NDIIS.”
Great Plains QIN is actively working with providers, patients, partners and stakeholders to implement best practices to increase immunization rates for influenza, pneumococcal disease and herpes zoster. Along with learning opportunities, the Great Plains QIN website offers resources, tools and access to quality improvement content.
“Immunizations are an easy and effective way to prevent harmful and/or deadly diseases for young and old populations alike” Jacobson concluded. “With minimal risks to the individual, we can prevent outbreaks of diseases that years ago were extremely deadly to a lot of people.”