Purpose: To increase usage of the herpes zoster (HZ) vaccine at an academic medical center by studying physicians' knowledge, attitudes, practices, and perceived barriers and analyze the findings by practice setting.
Methods: A cross-sectional Internet-based survey administered to all 266 general internal medicine physicians in 4 clinical settings at an academic medical center between October 6 and December 12, 2011. Outcomes measures included knowledge questions regarding the disease and vaccine recommendations, Likert-type items about physician attitudes and practices, and questions about barriers and proposed interventions to improve utilization.
Results: Response rate was 33.5% (89 of 266). Responders did not answer all questions. Only 66% (42 of 64) responded that HZ vaccination was an important clinical priority, and 48% (38 of 79) reported that less than 10% of their patients received the HZ vaccine. 95% responded that the influenza (61 of 64) and 92% that the pneumococcal (59 of 64) vaccines were important. Approximately 53% (42 of 79) and 51% (40 of 78) reported that more than 75% of their patients received these vaccines, respectively. Top barrier to vaccination was cost to patients (51 of 66; 77%). Lack of awareness of national recommendations (46 of 65, 71%) varied by setting. Physicians' preferred interventions included nurse-initiated prompting about vaccination (36 of 75, 48%) and chart reminders (34 of 74, 46%).
Conclusions: Not only increased knowledge but also a change in attitudes and practice are needed to enhance implementation of national recommendations. To improve use of this vaccine, physicians including ophthalmologists need to recommend it more strongly.