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.
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.
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.
Our brief QI coaching intervention produced small long-term improvements in HPV vaccination.
Health departments may benefit from targeting QI coaching to specific vaccines, like HPV vaccine, that need them most.