As more pharmacists provide a full range of vaccinations, registry data will be their biggest ally in providing better patient care, connecting to integrated health information, and expanding the health outcomes of their patients and communities.
Scottsdale, Arizona (PRWEB) September 08, 2014
William Foege, credited with helping eradicate smallpox, once called vaccines “the tugboats of preventive health.” It now seems that flu shots will be the tugboat’s tugboat. A new study, conducted by Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC) and Bartell’s regional drug store chain, has demonstrated the marketing leverage of utilizing state immunization registries with current customers. The results show how single flu shots could easily “pull” other vaccinations.
The study examined patients coming in for vaccinations, mainly flu shots, and the impact of informatics decision support to enhance immunization rates. Eight pharmacists participated, with 66 patient-customers.
- Of those in the state registry, 84% of patients were found due or overdue for vaccinations.
- On average, each patient-customer needed four vaccinations despite coming in for one.
- 95% of the time, the easy-to-access registry platform allowed pharmacists to check a patient’s history while adding, on average, 84 seconds to the process.
- The pharmacists reported that they found 78% of the patient-customers they queried in the registry.
Lisa Tonrey, former President of the American Pharmacists Association, states, “Immunization compliance can be perceived as an additional burden to the pharmacists’ workload, but it is a huge public health and business opportunity. As more pharmacists provide a full range of vaccinations, registry data will be their biggest ally in providing better patient care, connecting to integrated health information, and expanding the health outcomes of their patients and communities.”
Further, the study found that when the pharmacists had access to the registry data, they felt empowered to make informed recommendations on other vaccinations. The pharmacists in the study received no additional training on how best to obtain patients' immunization history, but by utilizing the immunization registry and having immunization data readily available, 14% of these patients received additional vaccinations as recommended by the pharmacists.
STC is further researching ways to increase the percentage of patients who agree to get up to date on their vaccinations. Todd Watkins, President of STC, says, “We believe that as we expand the pharmacists’ knowledge of the registry and interoperability with their current pharmacy setting, the percentage of customers who will accept additional vaccinations will quickly double or triple – to 30 or 40% – and continue to climb from there.”
How to Build a Vaccination Tugboat:
Use of state registry data can be built into routine workflow with STC’s ImmsLink software. Pharmacists can log into state registries from inside their EMR application. The data is bi-directional, allowing the pharmacist to check the patient’s immunization history/needs and to enter data into the state system in real time. The patient benefits. The registry benefits. The pharmacy benefits. The community benefits. All get pulled forward into the future of pharmacies.
STC’s goal is to ensure healthy populations through partnership, expertise, and applied use of information technology. In the early 1990s, STC was one of the first adopters of the value of immunization registries and the data that could be used for decision support to augment clinical practice, targeting the reduction and impact of vaccine-preventable disease on children. With the support of physicians, organizations, and policy and vaccine experts, STC’s public health and software professionals became the trusted authority that led many of the early efforts and best practices to implement statewide registries. The efforts continue today as over 250 million vaccine encounters are retained in the immunization registries of STC and their state public health partners. Increasing the value of these national health data assets is a primary goal of STC through the next decade.