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Your Health

New initiative boosts staff flu vaccine uptake

Eileen Whelan, Chief Director of Nursing & Midwifery & Quality, Dublin Midland Hospital Group

A new initiative has proven a significant boost to the uptake of the flu vaccine among staff in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG).

Their Online Flu Vaccination Consent Form (FVCF) was introduced as an ‘Innovative Digital Health Solution’ for the 2019 to 2020 flu season.

Objective

The objective of the online FVCF was to use a digital platform to cut the amount of time it had been taking in the paper-based system.

The system has two access links, one which is the FVCF for all healthcare workers to complete and submit their consent. The form requires some demographic data and asks questions on allergies and fitness/wellness to receive the vaccine.

Peer vaccinators

The other link is for peer vaccinators to have visibility in their hospital for healthcare workers who completed the form. Each peer vaccinator is loaded onto the system in advance. Once the form is checked and submitted, the vaccine can then be administered and the form electronically signed.

Last year peer vaccinators details were uploaded onto the system centrally. This year local hospitals were enabled to do this, giving the Flu Leads more control over the system. In line with data protection, only Flu Leads are enabled to run reports. As many hospitals vaccinated CHO and NAS colleagues, provisions were made in the system for these groups. Outsourced staff and students were also included. While the idea for the system was in response to staff requests for support in monitoring uptake of the vaccine, it proved beneficial for targeted education in certain departments where compliance was quite low - while maintaining individual choice and confidentiality and, importantly, driving improvements in overall patient and staff safety.

Uptake

The uptake of the flu vaccine has improved from 57% for the 2018/2019 flu season to 62% for the 2019/2020 flu season, a 7.4% increase. While there were a number of contributing factors, the online consent form and data collection capability was core to the success.