Retail pharmacy project aims to boost vaccination rates

October 6, 2015

PQA, VoicePort, and Scientific Technologies are collaborating on ImmuSMART, the Immunization Services Model for Adult Rate Improvement project.

A new pilot project aims to boost vaccination rates at community pharmacies nationwide. The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA), in collaboration with VoicePort and Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC), is starting the Immunization Services Model for Adult Rate Improvement (ImmuSMART) project later this year. Staff Pick: How to combat the top 10 vaccine errors PQA, VoicePort, and STC will use data from state immunization registries to identify pharmacy patients with immunization gaps for influenza, pneumonia, and shingles vaccines. Then, patients will be offered vaccines for which the patients have no record of receiving within the immunization registry. They are working with 200 drugstores nationwide on the project, which is sponsored by Pfizer and supported by a Merck educational grant. "The model we are piloting is a remarkable innovation in pharmacy point-of-care immunization assessment," said PQA Executive Director Laura Cranston. "This allows the pharmacy an important touch point related to the patients' immunization record, and the identification of immunization gaps even before the patient comes into the pharmacy." Once a potentially missing vaccination is identified, VoicePort will provide that information to patients via an outbound call that they would be normally receiving from their community pharmacy. "The beauty of the solution that we are piloting through ImmuSMART is that it ties a custom-tailored immunization prompt to the patient directly into their normal pharmacy experience," said VoicePort President and CEO Chris Mann. "Using our hosted interactive patient communications platform technology, we now have a scalable automated approach to immunization assessment that integrates seamlessly with pharmacy workflow." The project is needed because not enough adults are appropriately immunized, according to Mike Popovich, CEO of STC, which will be providing queries to state immunization registries to assess patients' records. "The adult population in the U.S. has a particularly strong need for regular assessments of their immunization status based on their immunization records in state registries. We're looking for solutions that draw upon the capabilities of our nation's community pharmacists to connect with their patients." The organizations involved in the project are not sure how effective it will be at boosting vaccination rates, but are hopeful for a positive outcome. The project will likely continue through the end of 2016. “The purpose of the study is to determine by what percentage it will increase immunizations, and whether such an increase is significant,” said Samuel Stolpe, PharmD, senior director of quality strategies and business development, for PQA. “We don’t know how much or whether it will increase immunizations. This is a new approach that hasn’t been tested yet.”