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HPV Vaccination Completion Rates Improve With Patient Follow-Up

December 13, 2019

Reminding patients of the need for an additional dose or doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and scheduling follow-up vaccinations during the initial vaccine appointment improved rates of HPV vaccination series completion at an academic health center-based community clinic. Researchers reported on the effort in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. 

A multidisciplinary team used a method called “failure modes and effects analysis” (FMEA) to identify ways the clinic could improve practices related to HPV vaccination rates, which were suboptimal. 

“FMEA is a standardized safety method that helps determine where processes fail, the impact of failures, and needed process changes,” researchers explained. 

Areas needing improvement, or “failure modes,” were identified and ranked with risk-priority numbers based on their likelihood to occur, the likelihood of detection, and the ability to correct locally. Clinic processes for HPV vaccine follow-up, immunization status checks during well-child visits, and vaccination discussions during sick-child visits all ranked as high failure modes.

The high-risk areas were subsequently targeted with new process improvements, such as scheduling follow-up vaccinations and providing reminders at the initial vaccine appointment.  

“HPV immunization rates improved following implementation of these procedures,” researchers wrote, “indicating that clinic processes focused on patient follow-up can impact vaccination series completion.” 

Jolynn Tumolo


Palmer KE, Moorman KL, Nickman NA, Owen DG. Factors influencing rates of human papillomavirus vaccination [published online December 3, 2019]. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2019;76(24):2053-2059. doi: 10.1093/ajhp/zxz246

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