Education Shown to Improve HPV Vaccinations

July 31st 2015



The human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that ranges from transient and asymptomatic to more severe, causing several kinds of cancers and genital warts. It is the most common STD: almost 80% of individuals will contract it at some point in their lives, the most prevalent being women aged 18 to 25 years.

Two vaccines that protect against HPV, Guardasil and Cervarix, are available today. Despite the fact that it is recommended for adolescent girls and boys aged 11 to 12 years in a 3-dose series over 6 months with a catch-up vaccination for girls and boys through ages 26 and 21, respectively, the vaccine has a suboptimal uptake in this patient population.

According to a review in theJournal of the American Medical Association: Pediatrics,certain approaches to education on the importance of the vaccine can increase its initiation in this targeted group of patients. The most popular approach is the reminder-and-recall system, which involves reaching out to parents via text message, phone call, e-mail, and letters to remind them to get their child vaccinated.

The results of 1 study showed that the use of a tiered system that provided telephone, mail, and outreach with home visits led to an increase of initiation compared with usual care (59% and 43%, respectively). The results of an additional study that utilized mail and telephone reminders also showed an increased initiation of the vaccine compared with usual care (27% and 21%, respectively).

Two other successful approaches included physician-focused interventions and school-based education. The physician-focused intervention involved education, audit, and feedback, as well as electronic decision support or alerts. The school-based programs focused on education within the schools, where one in particular was conducted in partnership with local health departments. According to the study, all interventions showed a successful increase in vaccination outcomes when compared with normal care.

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