Background: Reducing influenza transmission in healthcare settings is a top priority, both nationally and in Minnesota, and a critical patient safety issue. Influenza vaccination of healthcare workers is the single most effective method for preventing influenza infection and its severe complications in healthcare settings. National rates of influenza vaccination of healthcare workers are about 53 percent. Minnesota rates appear to be approximately 70 percent, as measured by MDH in 2009. Advised by a statewide task force of leaders from many professional organizations, MDH developed the FluSafe program to recognize healthcare facilities that attain high influenza vaccination rates.
Setting: FluSafe is designed for healthcare settings and is initially open to Minnesota hospitals and nursing homes. In subsequent years, we hope to incorporate medical clinics, home health agencies, emergency medical services, and public health, among others.
Population: FluSafe’s definition of healthcare workers includes all paid personnel in a healthcare setting including licensed independent contractors.
Project Description: FluSafe was launched in September 2010 and 180 Minnesota health care facilities had registered through November. FluSafe offers healthcare settings an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to patient safety and be publicly recognized for achieving high influenza vaccination rates. The program offers online evidence-based tools and materials to enhance existing vaccination campaigns. Worker vaccinations are tracked in Minnesota’s statewide immunization registry to allow for consistent comparisons of formally documented rates —something not possible with programs that rely on self-report data. A self-monitoring feature is also available so that sites can track their progress.
Results/Lessons Learned: Short of a mandate for influenza vaccination, a program like FluSafe shows promise by rewarding public reporting of worker vaccination rates at healthcare facilities as both a quality measure and a matter of transparency to inform communities and patients.