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Big Data Could Hold Key to Improving Vaccinations Rates
September 2, 2016 News

A new initiative is looking to increase the rate of adult vaccinations by using big data to develop helpful patient engagement strategies.

With flu season fast approaching, a new initiative focused on improving adult vaccination rates is turning to big data to discover the most helpful patient engagement strategies for primary care providers to deliver preventative care.

Adult Immunization Project using big data analytics

The Adult Immunization Project is a collaborative effort between the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), Duke Primary Care, Pfizer and Premier Inc. During the project, researchers will work as a team to develop strategies for Duke Health system primary care providers to support vaccination efforts.

“We all believe that adult immunization rates could be improved,” said Tracy Wang, MD, MHS, MSc, faculty director for DCRI Education. “Less than half of all eligible adults in the U.S. get an annual flu vaccination, which is one of the more common vaccines. The rates of vaccinations for other diseases, such as shingles and pneumonia, are even lower.”

Adult vaccine rates are lower than childhood rates, putting adults at a higher risk of developing preventable diseases. In 2014, the adult vaccination rate dropped below 70 percent.

According to the press release, nearly 50,000 adults in the United States die each year from diseases that could have been prevented with immunization shots.

As part of the program, Duke researchers will analyze primary care practices’ data to determine what patient engagement strategies were the most successful approaches for providing helpful vaccination information to patients.

“With the data being collected, we’ll be able to better understand what motivates provider and patient behavior, and understand what types of interventions have the most traction,” said John Anderson, MD, chief medical officer for Duke Primary Care.

Patient data will be stored in Premier’s CECity clinical data warehouse, which primary care providers will be able access. Providers will be allowed to view a patient’s vaccination status, identify high-risk populations, and refer patients to appropriate interventions.

“Together, we are in a unique position to provide research-level analytics around an evidence-based quality improvement approach designed to help hospitals and health systems meet population health goals and implement effective, scalable prevention strategies,” said Leigh Anderson, senior vice president and chief information officer at Premier.

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