Improving HPV Vaccination Rates at the Health Systems Level

This is a partner post from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

The Alliance for HPV Free Colorado is taking its effort to improve youth vaccination rates to the health systems level.

With a new grant, the coalition is working across northeastern Colorado to provide best practices to increase HPV vaccinations to large health systems that serve the region. The Alliance is a collaborative group of multidisciplinary stakeholders working to increase HPV vaccination rates among 11- to 17-year-old boys and girls in Colorado, focusing on the Denver metropolitan area and the northeastern part of the state.

Denver Public Health is leading this work in partnership with local public health agencies, Immunize Colorado, the Colorado Cancer Coalition, the Colorado Health Institute, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science (ACCORDS).

“The expansion of this effort will allow us to build on the gains we’ve made and begin to expand the circle of providers who have access to the evidence-based best practices to help protect their young patients from HPV,” said Emily Acker, a staff assistant with the Immunization program at Denver Public Health.

The current effort in Northern Colorado includes engaging large health systems to implement strategies to increase HPV vaccination through work with clinical networks, hospital systems, and payors across the region. A regional communications campaign including social media and traditional media has also been launched to inform parents about the importance of HPV vaccination and encourage them to talk with their child’s doctor. And finally, outreach and education with dental providers in northern Colorado focuses on prevention of oral cancer and the importance of HPV vaccination.

“Through our early efforts with the Alliance, we learned that by engaging parents, providers, health officials and many others across the spectrum of care, we could increase the numbers of young people getting vaccinated for HPV. We’ve done this through a multidimensional approach of education and outreach, as well as connecting providers to effective tools,” said Dr. Jessica Cataldi, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and researcher at ACCORDS.

Health systems who agree to the project go through a 12-month intervention period where they chose quality improvement projects, create action and sustainability plans and measure vaccination rates. The participating systems work with an “Alliance Facilitator” from a LPHA to help guide them through the work and connect to resources. The Alliance provides evidence-based interventions that systems can chose from that include: reminder/recall systems, provider education, standing orders and communications campaigns targeted at parents or providers in the system.