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Communication training linked to higher HPV vaccination rates

August 1, 2021

HPV vaccination rates improved after pediatric primary care clinicians learned evidence-based strategies to communicate with families about the vaccine, according to results of a study from the AAP Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) network (Szilagyi PG, et al. JAMA Pediatr.

HPV vaccination among U.S. adolescents lags behind national goals. One challenge involves clinician-patient communication about the vaccine. To address this challenge, PROS developed and tested online training modules that provided clinicians with strategies to recommend HPV vaccination to patients and families, answer common questions and address parental hesitancy.

Forty-eight pediatric primary care practices participated in the study from Jan. 1 to July 30, 2019. Half were randomly assigned to receive the training intervention and the other half were in a control group.

Researchers analyzed data from the electronic health records of 104,443 adolescents ages 11-17 years who were seen for well-child or other care at participating practices. They compared the percent of adolescents in the intervention and control groups who received an initial or subsequent HPV dose before and after the intervention.

Results showed the percent of vaccine-eligible teens who received their initial HPV vaccine dose increased from 26.4% to 32.1% in intervention practices compared to an increase from 27.2% to 29.5% in control practices. For subsequent HPV vaccine dose, all practices improved slightly with no significant difference between intervention and control practices (see figure below and click it to view larger format).

The AAP PROS network collaborated with researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Rochester, Children’s Mercy Kansas City, the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (R01 CA202261) to principal investigators Peter G. Szilagyi, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, and Alexander G. Fiks, M.D., M.S.C.E., FAAP, and a Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (UL1TR001881). The PROS network receives funding from the AAP and the Health Resources and Services Administration awards UA6MC15585 and U5DMC393440100.

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