Healthcare personnel influenza immunization rates have remained low, despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading healthcare organizations that all healthcare personnel receive annual flu vaccines. Experts say these levels are perilous. Increasing vaccination rates substantially improves patient safety, lowering flu deaths by 40 percent.
Three studies presented at the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections in Atlanta examine ways to increase healthcare personnel vaccination rates through social networking, declination strategies and mandates.
"Immunization is one of the most important things that we as healthcare personnel can do to prevent the transmission of influenza and other diseases to our patients," said William Schaffner, MD, a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America's (IDSA) Board of Directors. "We owe it to our patients to get vaccinated. These studies are very helpful because they demonstrate strategies that work to effectively reach and vaccinate healthcare personnel."
Social Networks Help Researchers Understand Healthcare Personnel's Flu Vaccine Use
Epidemiologists and computer scientists at University of Iowa Health Care (UIHC) found that healthcare personnel are more likely to be vaccinated if their close contact co-workers, also referred to as neighbors in the study, are vaccinated. Researchers constructed a social network of hospital-based healthcare personnel as a proxy for social relationships to examine the impact of co-workers' vaccination status on the vaccine status of their neighbors. Researchers examined the level of contact individual healthcare personnel have with other healthcare personnel.
Over the two year study period (2007-2008), Donald Curtis, a computer science graduate student in the university's Computational Epidemiology Research Group, constructed a social network of more than 6,500 healthcare personnel using data stripped of personal details to protect privacy from UIHC's electronic medical record system, including login time and location and vaccination status. When vaccination data was compared with login information, researchers were able to confirm the level of vaccinated neighbors for each individual.
Researchers found that unvaccinated healthcare personnel tended to be more isolated and have fewer vaccinated co-workers. By comparison, vaccinated healthcare personnel tend to have more interactions with co-workers and were more likely to be surrounded by more vaccinated co-workers. "These findings suggest a strong association between higher vaccination rates and healthcare personnel who work closely with other healthcare personnel," said Philip Polgreen, MD, assistant professor at University of Iowa Health Care.
The data hold implications for hospital-based flu vaccination campaign strategies specifically targeting healthcare personnel with a history of non-vaccination.
"It appears that vaccination campaigns consistently fail to influence a small cohort of healthcare personnel who are measurably more isolated from other healthcare personnel. Persistently unvaccinated healthcare personnel may benefit from better targeted vaccination campaigns," said Polgreen.
The researchers cautioned that their social network is only a proxy for social relationships since it defines the strength of relationships through repeatedly being in the same part of the hospital at the same time. However, data-driven construction of social networks is likely to be more accurate than self-reported behavioral survey data that has previously been used.
Kansas City Children's Hospital Vaccine Strategy Causes Swell in Vaccination of Healthcare Personnel
In a five-year span, Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics in Kansas City improved their employee influenza vaccine rate from 63 percent to 90.5 percent by instituting a mandatory vaccination/declination policy.
In 2004, 63 percent of the hospital's healthcare personnel received influenza vaccine. At that time the vaccination strategy included free influenza vaccine and education about influenza.
Beginning in 2008, a mandatory vaccination/declination policy was instituted requiring employees to receive the vaccine or formally decline the vaccination in writing. The influenza vaccination rate increased to 85 percent that year. By adding consequences such as a forced leave of absence for noncompliance to the 2009-2010 policy, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics was able to improve their vaccination rate to 90.5 percent, with 98.8 percent of employees complying with hospital policy.
"Our dramatic increase in vaccination participation over the last few years has been astounding," said Robyn Livingston, MD, director of Infection Control and Prevention at Children's Mercy Hospital. "Even though this program has exceeded our expectations, we recognize there is still room for improvement. We are considering a fully mandatory influenza vaccination policy to begin next fall."
Mandatory Patient Safety Policy Significantly Improves Vaccination Rates for Healthcare Personnel
As part of its continual efforts to improve patient safety, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) established a mandatory vaccination policy across its 163 hospitals, 112 outpatient centers and nearly 400 physician practices. The goal of the strategy was to advance patient safety by helping to stem healthcare-acquired influenza.
The policy, implemented during the 2009-2010 influenza season, required all healthcare personnel to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine. Those who could or would not be vaccinated due to egg allergy, history of Guillain-Barré, or religious or philosophical convictions were reassigned to non-patient contact roles or required to wear masks. Almost 97 percent of HCA healthcare personnel, or more than 150,000 people, have been vaccinated, and the remaining 3 percent are wearing masks, supporting HCA's goal of 100 percent patient safety.
"For years, hospitals across the nation have been reporting poor rates of healthcare personnel immunization against influenza," said Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, FACP, FACMI, chief medical officer of HCA. "The fact that CDC reports a rate of 48 percent is particularly troubling considering influenza is the number one cause of vaccine-preventable death."
In previous years, HCA had used a combined approach of vaccination education, conveniently offered immunizations and declination strategies. While these approaches achieved modest improvements annually, they were inadequate for complete patient safety. The current policy was developed by representatives of numerous disciplines, including emergency preparedness, infection prevention and epidemiology, human resources, pharmacy and supply chain. Additionally, the campaign included prevention strategies such as promoting cough etiquette, proper hand hygiene, sick visitor guidelines and environmental cleaning.
"When HCA employees are asked to take action that they know will improve the care of their patients, they respond," said Perlin. "Our approach enhanced patient safety and our employees delivered with an overwhelming response."
The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), Inc. and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) are convening the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections 2010, the scientific event to set the agenda for preventing healthcare-associated infections for the next decade March 18-22, 2010 in Atlanta, GA.
Sharon Reis | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > CDC > Centers for Disease Control > Disease Control and Prevention > Epidemiology > HCA > Healthcare > Heart Failure Clinics > IDSA > Infection > Infectious Diseases > Vaccine > flu vaccine > health services > infectious outbreaks > influenza vaccine > social relations > social relationships > vaccination > vaccination campaigns
Staphylococcus aureus: A new mechanism involved in virulence and antibiotic resistance
23.03.2018 | Institut Pasteur
Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
22.03.2018 | Tufts University
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy