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    Duke launches campaign to boost adult vaccination

    It’s no surprise that many adults don’t get the vaccinations they should. Now, a new initiative out of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, aims to find out why immunization rates among adults is so low and what healthcare providers can do about it.

    The new collaborative  launched at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and Duke Primary care aims to foster the development of evidence-based interventions to support adult vaccination practices. The program, called the Adult Immunization Project, will focus on working with providers throughout the Duke Health system.

    Adult vaccination rates remain low for a wide range of vaccine-preventable diseases, despite the fact that nearly 50,000 Americans still die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases or complications of those diseases, according to a statement from DCRI.

    “Less than half of all eligible adults in the U.S. get an annual flu vaccination, which is one of the more common vaccines. The rates of vaccinations for other diseases, such as shingles and pneumonia, are even lower,” said Tracy Y. Wang, MD, MHS, MSc, associate professor at Duke University, and director at the Duke Clinical Research Institute Education and the Duke CTSA Recruitment Innovation Center, in a statement about the program.

    Wang said as part of the program, researchers will analyze educational interventions used in primary care practices throughout the Duke system to try and understand which were successful and why. Frontline staff will be tasked with improving patient awareness in an effort to boost immunization compliance, she said.

    The data will then be fed into an analytics platform where healthcare providers will be able to see in a single view a patient’s vaccination status, identify high-risk patients and connect patients with targeted interventions.

    Wang said she is hopeful the program will identify ways to help physicians better manage adult immunizations and, in the end, increase compliance.

    “As physicians, we all know that immunizations are important and worth doing; the problem is time,” Wang told Medical Economics. “How do we prioritize discussions about immunizations when taking care of patient concerns and active health issues?"

    Next: Prioritizing immunization discussions

    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Ms Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare Executive, and ...

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    • Anonymous
      From Duke's press release: "The study was funded by the pharmaceutical company Merck, a leading producer of vaccines." 2 of the authors of the paper are employees of Merck.

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