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COMMUNICATION PREFERENCES OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS DURING AN EMERGENCY: Data from four state surveys conducted before and after the H1N1 influenza mass vaccination campaigns

Ockers, Sandra B (2011)
Master's Thesis (34 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Omer, Saad B
Committee Members: Seib, Katy
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Public Health
Partnering Agencies: State or local health department (not in Georgia)
Keywords: communication; emergency preparedness; H1N1; health care providers; qualitative data; vaccine
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Hubert Department of Global Health
Permanent url:


BACKGROUND: In emergency response, communication between public health officials and health care providers is essential and can become complex and challenging. Available studies are all single-state surveys that did not delve deeper into trying to determine what worked and did not work regarding communicating effectively during the H1N1 vaccination campaign from the perspective of health care providers. This study describes the most effective communication methods reported by providers and qualitatively identifies the desired improvements in communication between public health officials and health care providers.

METHODS: We conducted our research in 4 states across 2 years: in Oregon and Louisiana in 2009 and Washington and California in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The primary objective of our state-based surveys was to assess preparedness-related issues regarding an emergency involving distribution of a vaccine. All data was analyzed using SASv9.3 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC). Descriptive statistics and univariate frequencies were calculated for select survey variables. For the qualitative analyses, thematic review was conducted on the free-text responses.

RESULTS: The two most effective methods of communication in all four states were email and blast fax. Face to face conversation was the most frequently chosen method of disseminating information received from public health officials to clinic staff, reported by 75% of respondents. Overall, the majority of respondents reported receiving useful information from the health department. Areas for improvement identified from the qualitative analysis were more information regarding vaccine distribution and availability and help educating the public about the importance of vaccination.

CONCLUSION: Public health officials should employ email and fax as the primary distribution method when trying to communicate with health care providers. Public health messages should be formatted in such a way as to promote verbal and hard copy dissemination. Suggestions for improvement revolved around more accurate and timely information regarding vaccine availability and distribution. During an outbreak, public health agencies should continue to work diligently to educate the public about the necessity of vaccination through a variety of media forms. Finally, hosting mass vaccination clinics would help take some of the burden off of private practitioners who may be experiencing vaccine shortages or delays.

Table of Contents



A. Introduction...7-8
B. Data and Methods

a. Survey Methodology...8-10
b. Statistical Analysis...10

C. Results...11-14
D. Discussion & Conclusion...14-16




application/pdf Dissertation/Thesis 34 pages (200 KB) [Access copy of Dissertation/Thesis]
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