Appointment-based assessment at community pharmacies can improve vaccination rates

JAPhA study notes increased rates of herpes zoster vaccination, patient and pharmacist satisfaction

Appointment-based vaccination assessment and administration at community pharmacies can improve vaccination rates, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. The research compared vaccinations at 24 Kroger pharmacies in the Cincinnati-Dayton area of Ohio where the appointment-based model (ABM) was implemented with vaccinations at 78 control stores.

In the 24 intervention stores, pharmacists identified patients who would be filling prescriptions for more than one maintenance medication, and targeted those at high risk for medication problems and vaccine-preventable diseases for enrollment in the ABM program.  Pharmacy technicians staffing a call center contacted patients to discuss the project, enroll them in the program, and arrange appointments that would last up to 30 minutes. At the appointments, pharmacists assessed vaccinations, offered appropriate vaccinations then and there, and provided comprehensive medication review and patient counseling. When possible, pharmacists accessed vaccination histories from the statewide immunization information system. (Kentucky did not have one at the time of the study.)

During the study period, 840 patients enrolled in the ABM project in the intervention stores. The mean number of vaccinations in the intervention stores was 1,810 compared with 1,455 in the control stores. Pharmacists gave significantly more herpes zoster vaccinations at the intervention stores, approximately 167 per intervention store compared with 130 per control store.

More than 90% of patients who completed satisfaction surveys said they would recommend the program. Roughly one- third didn’t know they were missing vaccinations, and more than one-half said it was convenient to be vaccinated at their appointment. Pharmacists also approved of the program, with 80% of satisfaction survey respondents saying that the program facilitated ongoing relationships with patients and 86% saying they would like to continue offering the program.