According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a little over 70 percent of adults aged 65 years or older received an influenza vaccine in 2016, and less than 67 percent received their pneumococcal vaccination. Additionally, only 55 percent of people with Medicare in Georgia received a pneumococcal vaccine, according to Medicare claims data.
To address this gap, Alliant Quality— the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) serving Georgia and North Carolina — partnered with stakeholders and statewide associations to focus on boosting immunization rates.
Together, Alliant Quality and its partners recruited clinicians, pharmacists and other providers to share resources — such as webinars, immunization prescription pads and e-newsletters — that highlighted the importance of adult immunizations and the need to track patients’ vaccination data using Immunization Information Systems (IIS). Alliant Quality targeted recruitment by using geomapping technology to track areas with low immunization rates in rural areas.
Alliant Quality’s goal was to recruit 255 health care stakeholders to join the program. As of July 2018, they have secured 363 participants across Georgia, including health departments, critical access hospitals, home health providers, clinicians and pharmacists.
The Georgia Chapter of the American College of Physicians (Georgia ACP) partnered with one of the federally qualified health center groups recruited by Alliant Quality — Albany Area Primary Health Care (AAPHC) of Albany, Georgia — for a special project. This four-year project assisted the multi-clinic organization in structuring and following an improvement project utilizing best practices and the standards of care for vaccine programming. It began in 2016 with the goal of increasing the pneumococcal vaccine immunization rate by 50 percent, promoting equity in the use of state registries, and ultimately making adult immunizations a standard practice in general internal medicine and primary care settings.
Between April 2016 and January 2018, the pneumococcal immunization rate for all clinics involved went from 41 percent to 67.1 percent, surpassing the Alliant Quality and Georgia ACP’s goal of 50 percent, and some clinics had over 90 percent rates.
Additionally, the AAPHC was able to present these results at the CDC’s National Immunization Conference, further spreading awareness about how providers can help increase adult immunization rates and keep record of them.