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Br J Gen Pract. 1997 Jun;47(419):363-6.

Population-based prevention of influenza in Dutch general practice.

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Department of General Practice, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Although the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in high-risk groups has been proven, vaccine coverage continues to be less than 50% in The Netherlands. To improve vaccination rates, data on the organizational factors, which should be targeted in population-based prevention of influenza, is essential.


To assess the organizational factors in Dutch general practice, which were associated with the influenza vaccination rate in 1994.


A retrospective questionnaire study was undertaken in 1586 of the 4758 Dutch general practices, which were randomly selected. A total of 1251 (79%) practices returned a questionnaire. The items verified were practice profile, urbanization, delegation index, use of computer-based patient records, influenza vaccination characteristics and influenza vaccination rate.


No differences were found with regard to the percentage of single-handed practices (65%), practices situated in urban area (38%), practices with a pharmacy (12%), patients insured by the National Health Service (59%) and use of computer-based patient records (57%) when compared with national statistics. The mean overall influenza vaccination rate was 9.0% (SD 4.0%). Using a logistic regression analysis, a high vaccination rate (> or = 9%) was associated with the use of personal reminders (odds ratio (OR) 1.7, 1.3-2.2), monitoring patient compliance (OR 1.8, 1.3-2.4), marking risk patients in computer-based patient records (OR 1.3, 1.0-1.6), a small number of patients per full-time practice assistant (OR 1.5, 1.1-1.9), urban areas (OR 1.6, 1.3-2.1) and single-handed practices (OR 1.5, 1.1-1.9).


Improvement of vaccination rates in high-risk patients may be achievable by promoting the use of personal reminders and computer-based patient records, as well as monitoring patient compliance. In addition, the role of practice assistants with regard to preventive activities should be developed further. Practices situated in rural areas and group practices may need more support with a population-based approach for the prevention of influenza.

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