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Estimated Costs Associated with Improving Influenza Vaccination for Health Care Personnel in a Multihospital Health System

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Background: Health care personnel (HCP) are an important target group for influenza vaccination because of their close contact with vulnerable patients. Annual influenza vaccination for HCP is recommended to reduce the spread of influenza and decrease staff illness and absenteeism. UPMC Health System, the largest health system in western Pennsylvania, established a quality improvement project to increase influenza vaccination among its > 50,000 employees by implementing survey-informed interventions. At the completion of the intervention, estimates were prepared of the costs associated with implementing a multifaceted quality improvement intervention to improve HCP influenza vaccination rates in a large multihospital health system.

Methods: All 11 participating hospitals provided education and publicity regarding influenza vaccination and provided vaccine free of charge at mass vaccination clinics. Two additional strategies—mobile vaccination carts and incentives—were implemented in a factorial design such that the hospitals had either carts, incentives, both strategies, or neither. The minimum and maximum costs per vaccinated employee by type of intervention were estimated using cost data for vaccine/supplies, labor, incentives, and administration.

Results: The average costs per vaccinated employee ranged from $24.55 to $30.43 for incentives and carts, $20.66 to $25.57 for incentives, $23.24 to $26.54 for carts, and $18.03 to $20.60 for education and publicity only. Vaccination rates increased significantly but remained below ideal levels.

Conclusions: Influenza vaccination rates among nonphysician HCP can be improved using various interventions at a low cost per vaccinated employee. The costs for these nonmandatory interventions were modest compared with the costs typically associated with influenza-related absenteeism.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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