Improving Immunization Rates in Louisiana: A Collaborative Approach Across the Health Industry
Healthy People 2020 has identified 42 core topic areas affecting population health. One of the topic areas is immunization and infectious diseases. Healthy People 2020 immunization objectives include maintaining or increasing vaccination rates for children, adolescents and adults. Traditionally, the medical, nursing, physician assistant and public health professions are affiliated with providing immunizations and related education. Given that only a small group of health professions has been actively engaged in the process, then the questions arise: “What would the impact on health be if there was a consistent public health message supported by more health professionals? What if each health professional asked the immunization status of their patients/clients during the medical history review?” Asking these non-traditional healthcare service delivery questions can be precursors to health system transformation through collaborative practice.
An initiative which began in January 2017 as a large-scale interprofessional education (IPE) experience for early learners at an academic health center has expanded to an interprofessional approach at the state level to improve immunization rates for the pediatric and adult population. From an academic perspective, students work together to develop office policies and procedures related to clinic operations involving all team members. Evaluation of student learning outcomes indicated students who did not perceive having a role in increasing immunization rates prior to the IPE case, changed their perception of having a significant role after the IPE case. In addition, those health professional students who typically guide or give immunizations had a better understanding of how other team members can help educate patients/caregivers regarding immunizations.
Simultaneously, the IPE director at the academic institution was asked to become a member of the State Immunization Workgroup. The workgroup members included the state department of health, hospitals, clinics, non-profit organizations, public health professionals and pharmaceutical businesses. During workgroup meetings, the IPE director advocated for immunization training/education at the health professional student level for all programs. In addition, providing education to non-traditional immunization providers, such as oral health providers or physical therapists would be considered a new model of practice that had the potential to impact immunization rates.
Currently, members of the State Immunization Workgroup are collaborating with the School of Dentistry to integrate an immunization history question, as well as respective education, referral and follow-up in all oral health clinic operations.
At the end of the workshop, participants will:
- Learn about how an academic university has integrated immunization education for all health students and is advocating for interprofessional collaboration across the state.
- Explore non-traditional opportunities within the healthcare delivery system to increase immunization rates through collaborative efforts.
Through active learning strategies, such as group table discussions, facilitation, sorting sticky notes and using large sticky pads, learners will:
- Explore non-traditional opportunities within the healthcare delivery system to provide immunization education, referral and follow-up.
- Develop a flow diagram using Donabedian’s quality model for a defined non-traditional opportunity to increase immunization rates.
- Consider other opportunities to integrate primary prevention opportunities into large-scale IPE experiences.