Dr Karen Chee1, Mr Thomas Gadsden1, Dr Catherine Bateman-Steel1, Ms Erica Short1, Professor Mark Ferson1
1South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Public Health Unit, Randwick, NSW, Australia
Introduction: New South Wales (NSW) experienced a severe influenza season in 2017. Improving healthcare worker influenza vaccination coverage in 2018 was one strategy used by South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) to reduce the burden of influenza in the healthcare setting. This was in line with the new NSW Health’s policy on mandatory annual influenza vaccination for healthcare workers in high risk positions. A centralized electronic database was implemented to monitor influenza vaccine uptake by staff.
Methods: REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) was identified as the most appropriate web-based platform based on the ease of developing a bespoke, secure and inexpensive data collection tool in a short time period. An online vaccination consent form was developed by the Public Health Unit and installed on the District network within two weeks.
Results: Records of 9,780 employees were identified as vaccinated across eight facilities, of whom 88.1% worked in Category A High Risk positions. Customised reports generated from REDCap allowed managers to identify and follow up staff yet to receive their vaccination. Reminder letters sent to these staff members resulted in further vaccinations.
Conclusion: SESLHD successfully used REDCap as a centralised data collection tool to track the influenza vaccination rates of our healthcare workers. The data assisted the District Workforce in ensuring that facilities complied with NSW Health’s policy. Sufficient resourcing was important for timely data entry, cleaning and analysis. This work highlighted the need for a user-friendly District-wide platform for collecting employee immunisation data.
Erica’s nursing career commenced in Paediatrics and then branched off in the field of Infection Prevention and Control in 2011. From 2015 to 2017, she played a key role in the commissioning and accreditation of a brand-new healthcare facility in Western Australia as well as working as a Clinical Nurse. New career opportunities and skills diversification saw her move to the East coast in late 2017. She is currently working in the field of Public Health specifically in Infectious Diseases and Immunisation. Her passion for the field of Infection Management and Public Health also translates into her academic achievements. She completed a Graduate Certificate in 2016 which paved the way to completion of a Master’s degree in June 2018.