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Physician and practice factors related to influenza vaccination among the elderly.

Abstract

Two-stage, stratified, random-cluster sampling was employed to select 71 clinicians from inner-city, rural, suburban, and Veterans Affairs (VA) practices, and a random sample of 925 of their patients aged >/=65 years. Questionnaires and interviews based on the PRECEDE-PROCEED framework assessed clinician factors. Associations among clinician beliefs, practice characteristics, patient beliefs, and self-reported influenza vaccination status were determined.

The clinician response rate was 85% (60/71). Several factors of the PRECEDE-PROCEED framework were associated with higher influenza vaccination rates. For instance, patients at practices with express vaccination clinics had higher vaccination rates than at clinics without such immunization programs (87% v 76%, p =0.01). Using multivariate models, influenza vaccination status was related to several patient factors, including plans to receive influenza vaccination next year (p <0.001); belief that those who are not vaccinated will contract influenza (p =0.049); and history of being screened for colon cancer (p =0.023). Influenza vaccination status was also related to several physician factors, including awareness of recommendation to vaccinate asthmatics (p =0.024); agreement with these recommendations (p =0.004); and practice type and setting ("strata"), of which the VA was highest.

Influenza vaccination rates among adults, especially in minority populations, remain below national goals of 90%. This study investigated in diverse settings, facilitators of and barriers to patient influenza vaccination from the physician's perspective.

Through proactive office systems and education, physicians may influence patients' intentions to be vaccinated and thereby increase influenza vaccination rates.

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