At Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, preventing the spread of influenza is a top priority, as it serves a particularly vulnerable patient population. Influenza hospitalizes and kills more people in the U.S. than any other vaccine-preventable disease. "This
is a patient safety issue," notes Dana-Farber President and CEO, Laurie H. Glimcher, MD. "The next person who walks by while you're sneezing could be someone who just had a bone marrow transplant. We have to do whatever we can to protect that patient."
All staff members who are medically eligible are required to receive the flu vaccine every year by November. The vaccine is also offered on site to adult and pediatric patients. In 2019, 99.8 percent of medically eligible Dana-Farber staff members received
the flu vaccine, giving Dana-Farber Cancer Institute one of the highest vaccination rates among Massachusetts hospitals.
Preventing the Flu: Staff
The Patient Safety team takes the following steps to promote compliance among employees:
- Staff members are offered the vaccine at centralized flu clinics and satellite locations, with extended hours to accommodate clinical staff schedules.
- An extensive media campaign takes place every fall, including email alerts, intranet stories, and reminders on digital screens.
- Compliance data is reviewed regularly in department meetings.
- A disciplinary process is in place for non-compliant employees, including IS systems shut off and unpaid administrative leave for those employees who are non-compliant.
Preventing the Flu: Patients and Families
The Patient Safety team takes the following steps to encourage patients and families to get the flu vaccine:
- Offers the vaccine at regularly scheduled exams or infusion appointments
- Offers a web page with tips for preventing flu
- Offers a hotline to call for updates (617-632-2358 [-2FLU])
- Promotes the importance of the flu vaccine through email