Background: Influenza vaccination of adults remains below recommended levels. Standing orders programs (SOPs) that allow nonphysician medical staff to assess eligibility and administer vaccines without an individualized physician's order are a proven method to increase vaccination rates. However, recent data on their use are not available.
Purpose: Investigators surveyed primary care physicians nationwide in 2009 to assess factors related to awareness and use of SOPs.
Methods: Using the AMA Master List, a stratified random sample of U.S. family physicians (n=820) and general internists (n=820) was selected to receive a mailed questionnaire. The inclusion criterion was providing primary care to adults in an office-based practice. The primary outcome measure, analyzed in 2010, was consistent use of SOPs.
Results: The survey response rate was 67% (1015/1517). Forty-two percent of respondents who immunized adults in their practices reported consistent use of SOPs. Those physicians differed in several dimensions, including awareness of recommendations and regulations regarding SOPs for vaccines, size and type of practice, number and level of training of clinical staff, attributes of the staff. The two variables in logistic regression models that were associated with the highest likelihood of using SOPs were awareness of recommendations to use them (OR=3.0; 95% CI=2.2, 4.1) and agreement with their effectiveness (OR=2.7, 95% CI=1.9, 3.8).
Conclusions: Fewer than half of physicians report using SOPs for influenza vaccination, a number that is not much higher than it was about a decade ago. Approaches to increase use of SOPs are needed.
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