JMIR cancer 2017 08 113(2) e12 doi 10.2196/cancer.7345
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is below national goals in the United States. Health care providers are at the forefront of improving vaccination in the United States, given their close interactions with patients and parents.
The objective of this study was to assess the associations between demographic and practice characteristics of the health care providers with the knowledge of HPV vaccination and HPV vaccine guidelines. Furthermore, our aim was to contextualize the providers’ perceptions of barriers to HPV vaccination and strategies for improving vaccination in a state with low HPV vaccine receipt.
In this mixed-methods study, participating providers (N=254) were recruited from statewide pediatric, family medicine, and nursing organizations in Utah. Participants completed a Web-based survey of demographics, practice characteristics, HPV vaccine knowledge (≤10 correct vs 11-12 correct answers), and knowledge of HPV vaccine guidelines (correct vs incorrect). Demographic and practice characteristics were compared using chi-square and Fisher exact tests for HPV knowledge outcomes. Four open-ended questions pertaining to the barriers and strategies for improving HPV vaccination were content analyzed.
Family practice providers (52.2%, 71/136; P=.001), institutional or university clinics (54.0%, 20/37; P=.001), and busier clinics seeing 20 to 29 patients per day (50.0%, 28/56; P=.04) had the highest proportion of respondents with high HPV vaccination knowledge. Older providers aged 40 to 49 years (85.1%, 57/67; P=.04) and those who were a Vaccines for Children provider (78.7%, 133/169; P=.03) had the highest proportion of respondents with high knowledge of HPV vaccine recommendations. Providers perceived the lack of parental education to be the main barrier to HPV vaccination. They endorsed stronger, consistent, and more direct provider recommendations for HPV vaccination delivered to parents through printed materials available in clinical settings and public health campaigns. Hesitancy to recommend the HPV vaccine to patients persisted among some providers.
Providers require support to eliminate barriers to recommending HPV vaccination in clinical settings. Additionally, providers endorsed the need for parental educational materials and instructions on framing HPV vaccination as a priority cancer prevention mechanism for all adolescents.