- The American College of Physicians (ACP) is teaming up with connectivity vendor CECity and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to try to increase the rate of vaccinations in the United States, which falls below 70% for adults and may be falling further among children as parents question the supposed link between common immunizations and autism. Vaccination rates for diseases like influenza and measles are also strongly affected by racial and economic disparities, giving providers an opportunity to address the health of their patient populations through better education, which is the goal of this new collaboration.
“As a national organization of internists, ACP’s internal medicine physician specialists and their practice teams play a critical role in increasing adult immunization rates,” said Dr. Robert Centor, Chair of ACP’s Board of Regents and a practicing internist. “Recommending and offering appropriate vaccinations is a core component of preventive health care, leading to improved public health, less suffering and fewer deaths from preventable illnesses, and lower health care costs.”
The collaboration will be overseen by a national advisory group, chaired by Dr. Bernard Rosof, CEO of QHC Advisory Group and Dr. William Schaffner, Immediate Past-President of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, to help providers better adhere to the National Vaccine Advisory Committee’s standards for adult immunizations. The guidelines instruct healthcare providers to inquire about vaccine status at every visit, a task made easier by the widespread use of EHRs which can help prompt clinicians to collect appropriate data.
A recent pilot by The Ohio State University found that patients of providers who use EHRs and patient portals are significantly more likely to receive a shingles vaccine than patients of paper-based physicians. Providing educational literature to these patients also helped to increase the number of successful vaccinations against the painful herpes zoster virus. “Our intervention model shows there are opportunities to manage chronic and preventable illnesses, prevent medication interactions, and integrate team-based care in ways that would result in better care and cost savings,” said Neeraj Tayal, MD, an Ohio State Wexner Medical Center general internist who participated in the study.
“Pfizer is working to raise immunization rates to help protect against vaccine preventable diseases,” said Freda Lewis-Hall, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer Inc. “By bringing together tremendous expertise in health care, technology and quality improvement, this collaboration can make great strides to address the long-standing public health challenge of vaccinating American adults.”