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      Improving Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among Patients With COPD: A Pilot Project

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          Background and objective

          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.


          This project demonstrates that with regular audits to track progress and several easy-to-implement interventions, improving influenza vaccination rates is an achievable goal.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Predictors of mortality in hospitalized adults with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

          There is a need to identify clinically meaningful predictors of mortality following hospitalized COPD exacerbation. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature to identify clinically important factors that predict mortality after hospitalization for acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Eligible studies considered adults admitted to hospital with COPD exacerbation. Two authors independently abstracted data. Odds ratios were then calculated by comparing the prevalence of each predictor in survivors versus nonsurvivors. For continuous variables, mean differences were pooled by the inverse of their variance, using a random effects model. There were 37 studies included (189,772 study subjects) with risk of death ranging from 3.6% for studies considering short-term mortality, 31.0% for long-term mortality (up to 2 yr after hospitalization), and 29.0% for studies that considered solely intensive care unit (ICU)-admitted study subjects. Twelve prognostic factors (age, male sex, low body mass index, cardiac failure, chronic renal failure, confusion, long-term oxygen therapy, lower limb edema, Global Initiative for Chronic Lung Disease criteria stage 4, cor pulmonale, acidemia, and elevated plasma troponin level) were significantly associated with increased short-term mortality. Nine prognostic factors (age, low body mass index, cardiac failure, diabetes mellitus, ischemic heart disease, malignancy, FEV1, long-term oxygen therapy, and PaO2 on admission) were significantly associated with long-term mortality. Three factors (age, low Glasgow Coma Scale score, and pH) were significantly associated with increased risk of mortality in ICU-admitted study subjects. Different factors correlate with mortality from COPD exacerbation in the short term, long term, and after ICU admission. These parameters may be useful to develop tools for prediction of outcome in clinical practice.
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            Role of viruses in exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

            Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality and hospital admission. Respiratory viral infections, especially rhinoviruses, are a major cause of COPD exacerbations, with upper respiratory tract infections being associated with over 50% of COPD exacerbations. The presence of an upper respiratory tract infection leads to a more severe exacerbation and a longer symptom recovery time at exacerbation. Respiratory viral infections occurring during COPD exacerbations are more likely to lead to hospitalization. Sputum inflammatory markers were found to be higher in those patients with symptoms of a common cold or where rhinovirus was detected at exacerbation, thus suggesting that viral infections lead to greater airway inflammation and thus more severe exacerbations. COPD exacerbations are associated also with systemic inflammatory effects with increases in markers such as plasma fibrinogen and interleukin-6. Respiratory viruses have also been detected when the patients are stable, and this suggests that chronic viral infection may occur. Strategies to prevent viral infection will have a significant effect on the morbidity of COPD and will improve quality of life.
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              Public trust in physicians--U.S. medicine in international perspective.


                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                15 November 2019
                : 14
                : 2527-2533
                [1 ]Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, University Medicine Cluster, National University Hospital, National University Health System , Singapore
                [2 ]Biostatistics Unit, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore , Singapore
                [3 ]Fast and Chronic Programmes, Alexandra Hospital, National University Health System , Singapore
                [4 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, National University Health System , Singapore
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Andrew Li Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, National University Hospital , NUHS Tower Block, Level 10 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, 119228Singapore Email
                © 2019 Li et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, References: 42, Pages: 7
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                influenza vaccination, quality improvement project, copd


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