OB/GYN’s Identified as the ‘Most Expensive Vaccine Provider’

Pharmacists reported as the low cost and most efficient vaccination provider

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A new study found adult vaccinations at obstetrician and gynecology (OB/GYN) practices were the most expensive, as compared to other medical clinics. 

This combined Vaccination Time-Motion Study and Vaccine Practice Management Survey was conducted during 2017 at 19 medical practices, and reported the non-flu vaccine median cost per vaccination were:

  • $43 for OB/GYN practices,
  • $8 for internal medicine practices, and,
  • $7 for family medicine practices. 

The factors that contributed to higher costs among OBGYN practices were the increased time to counsel patients, administer vaccines, and to plan and manage vaccine supplies. 

In addition, this study reported that patient counseling was not very successful. 

OB/GYN patients declined to receive vaccines 68 percent of the time after speaking with clinic staff and learning the vaccine’s cost. 

These researchers said ‘lower costs of vaccination services may be achieved by increasing efficiencies in workflow or the volume of vaccinations.’ 

Pharmacies in the USA may fit this study’s recommendation. 

A recent study released by the Pacific Research Institute found healthcare providers and patients alike could save time and money if pharmacists were authorized to administer all vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

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In comparison to ‘doctor practices’, pharmacies were found to administer vaccines at lower costs. 

This study found the average direct costs paid per adult vaccination were lower in pharmacies compared with physician offices and other medical settings by 16-26 percent, and 11-20 percent, respectively. 

Moreover, this study’s results were mostly consistent across geographic regions and types of health plans. 

Another study from UCLA says requiring health insurers to pay for adult vaccinations delivered at retail pharmacies could be the missing tactic to save lives and reduce healthcare costs. 

“Including pharmacy-administered vaccines as a covered benefit will help many adult patients who have financial constraints, transportation issues or are unable to take time off work during a doctor’s office hours,” said Dr. Ozlem Equils, a steering committee member at the Immunization Coalition of Los Angeles County and lead author of the study. 

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“Providers can positively impact immunization rates by listening to the concerns of parents, combatting any misinformation with strong evidence-based research, and allowing the parents to make informed decisions”, said Chris Felton, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist at Brookshire Grocery Company.     

“It is incumbent upon pharmacists to know the good and bad information so that we can engage with them in a constructive conversation to enhance vaccination rates,“ added Felton.