Assistant Professor Tessa Hastings has received a $421,233 R21 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. Her study, entitled ‘Improving Immunization Information System Implementation in Community Pharmacies,’ is intended to improve the use of IISs to assess immunization status, recommend needed vaccines, and document administered vaccines thereby improving vaccination coverage, response efforts, and making the provision of immunizations safe and efficient.
The study will use implementation science methods to identify pharmacy specific barriers and facilitators to the integration of Immunization Information Systems into pharmacy workflow. The study will also tailor implementation strategies through a collaborative, human-centered design process and will evaluate implementation strategies through measurement of relevant implementation outcomes.
We know vaccines save lives and are widely recognized as one of the most successful public health interventions ... Immunization providers need access to complete and accurate immunization records.
Hastings, in her application for the grant, notes that strong health care provider recommendations are the single most influential factor in patient acceptance of vaccination; however, as the number of providers administering vaccines increases, there is a concern of fragmented immunization records in state Immunization Information Systems (IISs), a serious issue at both the provider and state levels.
“We know vaccines save lives and are widely recognized as one of the most successful public health interventions, but in order to improve immunization coverage and ensure that accurate recommendations are made when needed, immunization providers need access to complete and accurate immunization records,” Hastings says. “IISs are confidential computerized databases that record administered immunizations, provide patients access to their complete immunization history, and improve patient care by ensuring immunization providers can identify vaccinations due for an individual and make strong recommendations. Pharmacists have proven to be invaluable immunization providers, administering hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccines, and playing a key role in routine vaccination.”
“The grant will allow us to work with pharmacists to identify and evaluate strategies to better integrate IISs into pharmacy workflow including assessing immunization status, recommending needed vaccines, and documenting administered vaccines,” she adds. “The long-term goal is to improve the use of IISs in the community pharmacy setting, providing the potential for IISs to be used consistently in assessing immunization status and recommending vaccines, reducing missed opportunities and improving vaccination coverage.”
Hastings will serve as principal investigator for the research, along with her collaborators Bryan Love and Gene Reeder from the College of Pharmacy, Robert Hock from UofSC’s College of Social Work, Salisa Westrick, Auburn University, and Kathleen Cartmell, Clemson University.