Every year in the United States, influenza-related infection causes thousands of deaths, the complications of which require millions of dollars in hospital-related care. The influenza vaccine is proven to effectively reduce incidence of infection and complications from influenza viruses.
A clinic in southeast Florida for the uninsured offered influenza immunization at no cost to its patients, yet the immunization rate was still low.
A quality improvement project was conducted to determine whether the use of evidenced-based bundled interventions would increase the rate of the influenza vaccination at the clinic.
The bundled interventions included mass communication, leadership, improved work flow, and improved access.
Evidence-based interventions led to a 597% increase in the influenza uptake rate. Trends were analyzed by using data gathered from the electronic medical record regarding patient demographics, influenza immunization uptake rate, type of visit for the immunizations, and reason for declining. Overcoming the access barrier led to great improvements in this clinic. Initially more vaccines were given in nurse visits; as the season progressed, more vaccines were given by providers in the clinic. Common reasons for patient refusal of the vaccine were fear of side effects and fear of contracting the influenza virus. Streamlined documentation could promote continued staff compliance over time.
To reduce influenza-related costs and improve health outcomes, it is imperative that nurse practitioners use evidence-based interventions in the practice setting to increase influenza uptake rates in the adult uninsured population.