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A review of the key factors to improve adult immunization coverage rates: What can the clinician do?

Tan, Litjen (L.J.)
Vaccine 2018 v.36 no.36 pp. 5373-5378
adolescents, adults, funding, health services, infrastructure, issues and policy, patients, vaccination, vaccines, United States
Adult immunization coverage rates remain low in the United States and internationally, despite obvious benefits to vaccinating and maintaining a well-vaccinated adult population. Broad policy changes are required to identify and address gaps in financing, in immunization infrastructure, and patient and provider awareness and knowledge to improve the protection of our adult and aging population from vaccine-preventable diseases. There is good evidence that efforts are now underway both within the United States and across the world to advance these policy changes. There are successful interventions that have been demonstrated to improve rates in the pediatric population that must be translated into the adult patient population to meet the critical gaps that remain at the interface of the delivery of vaccinations to adults. Improvements in overall policy will only increase adult immunization coverage rates if interventions are adapted and implemented for adult patients. Often, these same interventions will be applicable to adolescent patients as well. These interventions have been reviewed by the United States Preventive Services Task Force and recommended interventions fall into three categories: (1) Enhancing Patient Access to Vaccination; (2) Improving community/patient demand; and (3) Provider- and healthcare system-directed interventions. Specific interventions that have been demonstrated successful for the adult population include interventions such as reducing patient out-of-pocket costs for vaccinations, patient or family incentive rewards, and implementation of quality measures and quality improvement interventions. Addressing the poor performance in adult immunizations requires approaches predicated on not repeating previous efforts and will require innovative thinking to integrate multiple interventions that have been successful separately, into a holistic approach to support and automate immunization assessment, recommendation, and administration. This can then lead to increased valuation of adult and adolescent immunizations within the priorities of a healthcare system, and improvements in clinic efficiency within a practice.