Background:

Health departments in the United States routinely conduct quality improvement (QI) coaching to help primary care providers optimize vaccine delivery. In a prior trial focusing on multiple adolescent vaccines, this light-touch intervention yielded only short-term improvements in HPV vaccination. We sought to evaluate the impact of an enhanced, HPV vaccine-specific QI coaching intervention when delivered in person or virtually.

Methods:

We partnered with health departments in three states to conduct a pragmatic cluster randomized trial in 2015 to 2016. We randomized 224 primary care clinics to receive no intervention (control), in-person coaching, or virtual coaching. Health department staff delivered the brief (45–60 minute) coaching interventions, including HPV vaccine-specific training with assessment and feedback on clinics’ vaccination coverage (i.e., proportion of patients vaccinated). States’ immunization information systems provided data to assess coverage change for HPV vaccine initiation (≥1 doses) at 12-month follow-up, among patients ages 11 to 12 (primary outcome) and 13 to 17 (secondary outcome) at baseline.

Results:

Clinics served 312,227 patients ages 11 to 17. For ages 11 to 12, coverage change for HPV vaccine initiation was higher in the in-person and virtual coaching arms than in the control arm at 12-month follow-up (1.2% and 0.7% point difference, both P < 0.05). For ages 13 to 17, coverage change was higher for virtual coaching than control (1.4% point difference, P < 0.001), but in-person coaching did not yield an intervention effect.

Conclusions:

Our brief QI coaching intervention produced small long-term improvements in HPV vaccination.

Impact:

Health departments may benefit from targeting QI coaching to specific vaccines, like HPV vaccine, that need them most.

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