Using the 4 Pillars™ Practice Transformation Program to increase adult Tdap immunization in a randomized controlled cluster trial

Vaccine. 2016 Sep 22;34(41):5026-5033. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.07.053. Epub 2016 Aug 26.


Introduction: National adult Tdap vaccination rates are low, reinforcing the need to increase vaccination efforts in primary care offices. The 4 Pillars™ Practice Transformation Program is an evidence-based, step-by-step guide to improving primary care adult vaccination with an online implementation tracking dashboard. This study tested the effectiveness of an intervention to increase adult Tdap vaccination that included the 4 Pillars™ Program, provider education, and one-on-one coaching of practice-based immunization champions.

Methods: 25 primary care practices participated in a randomized controlled cluster trial (RCCT) in Year 1 (6/1/2013-5/31/2014) and a pre-post study in Year 2 (6/1/2014-1/31/2015). Baseline year was 6/1/2012-5/31/2013, with data analyzed in 2016. Demographic and vaccination data were derived from de-identified electronic medical record (EMR) extractions. The primary outcomes were vaccination rates and percentage point (PP) changes/year.

Results: The cohort consisted of 70,549 patients ⩾18years who were seen in the practices ⩾1 time each year, with a baseline mean age=55years; 35% were men; 56% were non-white; 35% were Hispanic and 20% were on Medicare. Baseline vaccination rate averaged 35%. In the Year 1 RCCT, cumulative Tdap vaccination increased significantly in both intervention and control groups; in both cities, the percentage point increases in the intervention groups (7.7 PP in Pittsburgh and 9.9 PP in Houston) were significantly higher (P<0.001) than in the control groups (6.4 PP in Pittsburgh and 7.6 PP in Houston). In the Year 2 pre-post study, in both cities, active intervention groups increased rates significantly more (6.2 PP for both) than maintenance groups (2.2 PP in Pittsburgh and 4.1 PP in Houston; P<0.001).

Conclusions: An intervention that includes the 4 Pillars™ Practice Transformation Program, staff education and coaching is effective for increasing adult Tdap immunization rates within primary care practices. Clinical Trial Registry Name/Number: NCT01868334.

Keywords: Adults; Immunization; Pertussis; Tdap vaccine; Tetanus.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus Vaccine / administration & dosage*
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pennsylvania
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Texas
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*


  • Diphtheria-Tetanus Vaccine

Associated data