Objective: Annual influenza and pneumococcal vaccination rates remain suboptimal in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus despite their higher risk of infections and related complications. The CDC identified lack of knowledge about vaccine guidelines among adult patients and their providers as the most substantial barrier to vaccination coverage. As specialists working with particularly affected populations, rheumatologists, allergists, and immunologists can advise patients regarding gaps in recommended vaccinations.The aim of this study was to describe prescribers' perceptions of an educational activity that was developed to increase rates of appropriate pneumococcal and influenza vaccination in adults with chronic inflammatory conditions. We were interested in the impact of the educational activity on the knowledge and practice of providers.
Methods: We evaluated a multimodal educational activity aimed at increasing vaccination rates in high-risk adults. We assessed provider knowledge, perceptions of the activity, and impact on their practice. The activity was conducted at a single site "in house" education event in the live format and was disseminated nationally in print and online format.
Results: In the "in house" interactive education session, mean scores on the pre- and post-tests were 75% (SD 11.6%, 95% CI 70-80%) and 89% (SD 11.1%, 95% CI 85-95%; p=.0001 vs. pre-test score), respectively, demonstrating that knowledge was significantly increased after completing the activity. In the nationally available activity 93% (n=240) of respondents indicated that the activity significantly increased their awareness about the importance of vaccinations in these high-risk patients and recognition of when these vaccines were indicated or contraindicated, while 55% (n=142) planned to consequently change their practice.
Conclusion: Provider education is a valuable strategy for practice-based improvements in vaccination coverage since provider failure to recommend vaccinations is a primary barrier in high-risk patients. Most patients received vaccinations based on physician recommendations and vaccination rates were markedly higher among patients receiving vaccine information from their providers. This educational activity increased clinicians' knowledge of and confidence in vaccinations for adults with chronic inflammatory conditions.
Keywords: Autoimmune diseases; Continuing medical education; Immunocompromised host; Influenza vaccines; Pneumococcal vaccines; Rheumatic diseases; SLE; Systemic lupus erythematosus.