Guidelines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) advocate regular influenza vaccination, which has been shown to reduce exacerbations. However, influenza vaccination rates remain low. This quality improvement project was initiated to help improve influenza vaccination rates in a tertiary hospital.
All patients with COPD in the airway program (TAP) in the National University Hospital at the end of 2013 were recruited. The interventions were implemented in 2014; thus, population was stratified into the pre-intervention group and post-intervention group. Those who died in 2014 were excluded. They were (1) patient education posters in the clinics on the need for regular influenza vaccination, (2) direct interventions by physicians, and (3) intervention by the nurses when vaccinations were neglected. Physicians were made aware of previous vaccination rates, vaccination card reminders were placed in the clinics, and a new electronic healthcare record system (EHR) was implemented. The patients were followed up till the end of 2015 or until death. When an influenza vaccination was administered, the patients were asked which of the interventions led to the vaccination. A questionnaire was delivered to the physicians to determine the interventions that led to any change in vaccination prescription practices.
The pre-intervention influenza vaccination rate was low at 47.7%. The post-intervention influenza vaccination rate improved to 80.7% with the multi-pronged approach. Physicians initiated the majority of vaccinations (87.9%), while nurses helped intervene in a further 12.1%. Physicians’ vaccination prescription practices changed as a result of self-awareness of low vaccination rates, vaccination card reminders, and the new EHR. Patient education made minimal impact.