Flu season is upon us and the best way to prevent the flu is through annual flu immunizations. In 2010 the Kansas Healthcare collaborative started a four-year campaign to increase the number of hospital health care workers receiving annual influenza immunizations as part of the effort to decrease health care-associated infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that health care workers have a role in the fight against flu, with immunization of workers linked to improved patient outcomes and reduce flu infection. Studies show the flu can cause up to 48,000 deaths in the United States in a given year and the CDC for many years has recommended an annual influenza immunization for health care workers. The influenza immunization of health care professionals is critical in eliminating the transmission and outbreaks of the virus in the health care setting.
Locally, Great Bend Regional Hospital reports that more that 87% of their health care personnel including medical staff received a flu immunization during the 2012-2013 flu season. This is a 3% rate increase over 2011-2012, and 7% increase over the 2010-2011 immunization rate. The state wide rate for seasonal flu immunization for 2011-2012, based on a survey where 100 percent of Kansas Hospital participated, was 83%; well above the national average of 67 percent.
While Great Bend Regional rate for health care workers is above the national average, they recognize that there is room for improvement. “Our hospital has established a goal to increase our seasonal influenza rate of 100% by 2014.” said Emily Yarmer, Infection Control Supervisor. This goal is consistent with a provider-led statewide project sponsored by the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative.
Founded in 2008 by the Kansas Medical Society and the Kansas Hospital Association, the mission of the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative is to transform health care through patient-centered initiatives that improve quality, safety and value.