In September 2016, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium launched our "Adult Immunization Project" with the goal of increasing immunization rates in six federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Philadelphia that primarily serve people experiencing homelessness and residents of public housing. These health centers are managed by the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), and the project was conducted in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
The project emphasized the importance of outreach, education, and improved access to necessary vaccines for older adults who are most vulnerable to life threatening, vaccine-preventable illness. It consisted of comprehensive, in-person trainings about adult immunization standards for providers and staff at PHMC health centers, as well as the incorporation of immunization prompts and reminders in the health centers’ electronic medical record (EMR) systems. The Health Department also worked closely with health center support staff to ensure that vaccination data was uploaded to PhilaVax (formerly KidsPlus IIS), Philadelphia's immunization information system.
Nichole Dantzler, Adult Grant Coordinator at the Health Department, described the rationale behind partnering with us on this project: "As a subsidiary of PHMC with a national reach, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium is uniquely poised to execute public health interventions and maximize outcomes to achieve the greatest impact. They have established themselves as a dedicated leader in serving vulnerable and undeserved populations in the community. Previous interventions have shown success utilizing reminder-recall prompts in the health centers' EMR systems, thus we wanted to explore a similar intervention with a focus on adult immunizations."
Forty-five participants from PHMC’s six health centers attended live training sessions over the course of the project, including Patricia Hewson, CRNP, Clinical Director at PHMC Health Connection. Patricia shared that: “The training was helpful and made us evaluate what vaccines we currently offer and what should be offered during adult visits.” Participants reported increased knowledge and confidence about adult immunization administration as a result of the training.
The project emphasized the importance of outreach and improved access to necessary vaccines for older adults who are most vulnerable to life threatening, vaccine-preventable illness.