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Interventions to increase influenza vaccination rates in veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders.

Weaver FM, Smith B, LaVela S, Wallace C, Evans CT, Hammond M, Goldstein B. Interventions to increase influenza vaccination rates in veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders. The journal of spinal cord medicine. 2007 Jan 1; 30(1):10-9.

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OBJECTIVE: To increase the percentage of veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCIandD) who receive annual influenza vaccinations. DESIGN: A repeated measures quality improvement project using several integrated evidence-based interventions. SETTING: 23 Veterans Affairs (VA) SCI Centers. PATIENTS: Veterans with SCIandD average age = 57.3 years (range 21-102 y). INTERVENTIONS: Patient reminder letters and education; provider reminders and posters; computerized clinical reminders for vaccination targeted to SCI and D; standing orders. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Patient self-reported vaccination status. RESULTS: Baseline vaccination rate was 33% in fiscal year (FY) 2001. The percentage of veterans with SCIandD who reported receiving vaccinations increased from 62.5% in year 1 (FY2002) to 67.4% in FY2003 (P = 0.004); for individuals younger than 50 years of age, rates increased from 50% to 54%. Predictors of vaccination were age 65 years of age or older, VA health care visit in past year, nonsmoker, believing vaccination is important, having a health condition that may contribute to respiratory complications, and self-reported influenza in prior year. CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination rates were higher than baseline and higher than reported for other high-risk groups. Interventions that incorporate system-wide approaches plus patient and provider education and reminders were moderately effective in increasing vaccination rates. Targeting younger persons, smokers, and those who do not use VA care may further improve rates.

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