Note: The following post about one of Health Quality Innovation Network’s partners was featured this month on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO) Program website.
The Health Quality Innovation Network (HQIN) team partners with health care providers in Kansas, Missouri, South Carolina and Virginia to support their quality improvement efforts. This includes spreading best practices to help others achieve similar successes. One such partner, NOVA ScriptsCentral in Virginia, was recognized with a 2021 Health Quality Innovator of the Year award for tackling health disparities by developing innovative ways to address health literacy and promote culturally competent care.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NOVA ScriptsCentral team noticed that a lack of culturally appropriate information and an abundance of misinformation contributed to a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases within underserved communities. With this knowledge, the team set out to provide accurate, unbiased education about the vaccine and boost confidence in it.
NOVA ScriptsCentral focused on becoming a go-to resource of easy-to-understand, culturally appropriate COVID-19 information. While most materials shared early in the pandemic were provided in English, the pharmacy serves populations that speak a variety of languages, including Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Amharic and Vietnamese. After diligently reviewing resources from all over the world to verify accuracy, NOVA ScriptsCentral created an online COVID-19 resource page that compiled the best resources available for a variety of populations. Additionally, the team developed infographics to present the information in an engaging, understandable format.
When the COVID-19 vaccine was close to being approved, NOVA ScriptsCentral shifted focus to educating the community about the vaccines. They launched a statewide COVID-19 vaccine survey to determine how to best engage community members and health care professionals and build vaccine confidence. Three different surveys netted 2,100 responses. As a supporting partner, HQIN experts helped interpret the results, creating data visualization infographics to explain the survey findings.
Using online methods to promote the information, NOVA ScriptsCentral tracked their Twitter and Facebook social media activity, as well as website traffic, to evaluate the impact of their outreach efforts. Before the pandemic, the pharmacy had little social media engagement, but the online education strategy resulted in over 10,000 social media impressions. Also, website traffic increased by 45% from the pre-pandemic time frame.
Additionally, the team partnered with faith-based groups, housing organizations, the local health department and another pharmacy to provide small-size vaccination clinics in the region. An average of 300 people attended each clinic. In total, 3,000 community members were vaccinated at 15 events. Many of the vaccination sites were held at locations that community members could easily reach, thus minimizing transportation barriers.
Overall, the pharmacy was able to touch over 20,000 lives through these initiatives while promoting the role that pharmacists and pharmacy team members can have in the community. But their efforts will not stop there. The team looks forward to leveraging data visualization concepts, with HQIN’s assistance, to develop new forms of communication to help their community.