The Flu Fighters! and Telligen, the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) serving Illinois, Iowa and Colorado, were honored this spring with the 2016 Immunization Neighborhood Award at the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit (NAIIS) for their efforts to increase immunization rates among at-risk seniors in Chicago.
Telligen collaborated with the Chicago Housing Authority, Walgreens, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, EverThrive Illinois and the Chicago Department of Public Health to create the Flu Fighters! partnership. In its first year, the partnership succeeded in providing flu and pneumonia vaccinations and education to over 1,150 seniors.
“We sought to bust the myths around immunizations,” said Kateri Nelis, Telligen Senior Quality Improvement Facilitator.
"This recognition spoke highly to the collaborative efforts of several organizations working together to help our underserved populations,” said Pat Meryweather, Executive Director at Telligen. “Despite the social determinants the communities faced, such as poverty and violence, the partners persevered and brought immunizations to those in great need."
“Despite the social determinants the communities faced, such as poverty and violence, the partners persevered and brought immunizations to those in great need."
With the goal of building upon its success, the partnership is getting ready to kick off year two of the program, which will begin on Labor Day and run through Veterans Day. The timeline was created to ensure seniors receive their immunizations two weeks prior to the start of the holiday season, giving the vaccinations enough time to become active before the peak time for influenza-related hospitalizations.
Telligen is introducing some program changes this year to reach a more diverse group of beneficiaries, such as creating more educational resources available in foreign languages.
“Last year, some of the program’s brochures were offered in up to five languages,” Nelis said. “This year, we are excited to be offering other educational materials like posters in these languages, and we believe it will help us reach an even larger population in the city.”
The partnership will also implement a more interactive curriculum this year, which members hope will help foster open conversations about the importance of vaccinations.
In an effort to reach more seniors outside of Chicago, Telligen is sharing best practices and details about the project with other QIN-QIOs. To date, atom Alliance, the QIN-QIO serving Alabama, Mississippi, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as TMF Health Quality Institute, the QIN-QIO serving Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and Texas, have expressed interest in replicating the partnership in their regions.
Telligen and the Flu Fighters! partnership have committed to continuing the program for a third year and hope to bring immunizations to the doorsteps of even more seniors during the 2017-2018 flu season.