Impact of the RxVaccinate program for pharmacy-based pneumococcal immunization

Pneumonia is a disease that is very prevalent within society and is one of the leading causes of death, particularly in adults aged 65 or older. A very easy way to prevent contraction and spread of pneumonia is to receive the appropriate vaccinations at the correct time in a patient’s life. Pharmacists are providing an increasingly higher proportion of these vaccines, and are projected to administer even more in the future. This study looked at the effectiveness of a program called RxVaccinate, created by APhA, which was designed to compare the effectiveness of two different types of education programs in increasing the amount of pneumococcal vaccines administered.

The two programs involved in the study were a series of self-directed training webinars and the webinars combined with expert coaching sessions. The webinar focused on the current pneumococcal immunization recommendations, benefits of getting the vaccine, how to identify high-risk patients and provide counseling to them. The coaching sessions involved outlining action plans for the pharmacists and how to implement them. One group of pharmacists received only the self-directed training on pneumococcal vaccines, while the other group received coaching sessions in addition to the self-directed webinars. This study found that while both programs significantly increased the number of pneumococcal vaccines administered at each community pharmacy, the pharmacists who received both the webinar and the coaching session trainings increased the amount of pneumococcal vaccines administered than the pharmacists who only received the webinar training, with a P value of 0.032.

This study is really interesting to me because at my work (in a community pharmacy), we are frequently assigned self-directing online learning modules to teach us about new programs or educate us on new compliance policies within the company. I know for the sake of efficiency it is easier to send us online modules, but it does make it easier for pharmacy team members to dismiss them or not take the training as seriously as they would if the same information was presented in an expert-led training session. However, for something as important as teaching pharmacists the proper methods to identify, counsel, and administer the vaccine to patients, it is definitely necessary to have an in-person training session. As more advanced technological methods of teaching emerges, how do you think the effectiveness of pharmacists’ training will be affected? Do you think these types of online learning modules will completely replace in-person training sessions, or do you think they will only be used as more of a supplement to these sessions?

Westrick SC, Owen J, Hagel H et al. Impact of the RxVaccinate program for pharmacy-based pneumococcal immunization: A cluster-randomized controlled trial. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2016; 56:29-36.