Pfizer, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke Primary Care, and Premier Inc. to launch initiative to determine effective interventions to encourage appropriate immunizations among adults

A new quality improvement initiative that aims to create effective solutions in optimizing adult vaccination rates was announced today. The program, the Adult Immunization Project, is a collaboration among the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), Duke Primary Care, Pfizer, and Premier. Researchers will jointly work to develop evidence-based interventions to support indicated adult vaccination practices among providers in the Duke Health system.

Improving adult vaccination rates has been a longstanding goal of the nation’s public health experts. Adults are more likely than children to contract vaccine-preventable diseases, largely because adult immunization rates are considerably lower than childhood rates. Real-world data show that pneumococcal, influenza, tetanus, and herpes zoster vaccination rates lag well behind national goals, particularly for high-risk patient populations. Nearly 50,000 American adults die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases or their complications.

“We all believe that adult immunization rates could be improved,” said Tracy Wang, MD, MHS, MSc, faculty director for DCRI Education. “Less than half of all eligible adults in the U.S. get an annual flu vaccination, which is one of the more common vaccines. The rates of vaccinations for other diseases, such as shingles and pneumonia, are even lower.”

As part of the collaborative project, researchers at Duke will analyze data from primary care practices before, during, and after the deployment of educational interventions to determine which approaches were successful in helping patients understand the benefits and risks associated with various vaccinations. The project will be piloted throughout Duke Primary Care practices, engaging frontline clinic staff on improving patient awareness and delivery of indicated and customary immunization care for current adult patients.

“With the data being collected, we’ll be able to better understand what motivates provider and patient behavior, and understand what types of interventions have the most traction,” said John Anderson, MD, chief medical officer for Duke Primary Care.

Patient data will be stored, streamlined, and analyzed using Premier’s CECity quality analytics platform. The platform is a clinical data warehouse that allows healthcare providers to access patient information in a single, consolidated view. In addition to access of patient vaccination status, the platform allows providers to manage outlier reports, identify high-risk patients, and connect patients to appropriately targeted interventions.

“Together, we are in a unique position to provide research-level analytics around an evidence-based quality improvement approach designed to help hospitals and health systems meet population health goals and implement effective, scalable prevention strategies,” said Leigh Anderson, senior vice president and chief information officer at Premier.

The initiative is funded by Pfizer, which markets FDA-approved vaccine products in the United States and has a number of vaccine candidates being evaluated in clinical trials.