Communication Training for Health Care Professionals May Help Adolescents Start, Finish HPV Vaccinations

Bottom Line: A training intervention to help health care professionals better communicate about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines with adolescent patients and their parents increased initiation and completion of HPV vaccine series among both boys and girls.

Why The Research Is Interesting: More than 35,000 HPV-related cancers occur each year and effective vaccines against HPV have been available in the United States since 2006 for girls and since 2009 for boys. However, the vaccines are underused among adolescents and interventions to increase vaccination rates are being studied.

Who and When: 16 primary care practices in Denver, Colorado, with half implementing a communication training intervention and the other half serving as a control group for comparison group; participants included 188 medical professionals and about 43,000 adolescents; the clinical trial was conducted between February 2015 and January 2016

Interventions and Measures: The communication training program for health care professionals had five components: fact sheets, a parent education website, images depicting diseases associated with HPV, a decision aid for HPV vaccination, and communication training for health care professionals (interventions); differences in HPV vaccine series initiation and completion for patients ages 11 to 17 in the intervention and control practice groups (outcomes)

How (Study Design): This was a randomized clinical trial (RCT). RCTs allow for the strongest inferences to be made about the true effect of an intervention. However, not all RCT results can be replicated in real-world settings because patient characteristics or other variables may differ from those that were studied in the RCT.

Authors: Amanda F. Dempsey, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and coauthors


Study Limitations: The intervention could not examine at the patient level the effect of specific components of the intervention on HPV vaccination uptake.

Study Conclusions: Disseminating this communication training intervention among primary care health care professionals may increase national adolescent HPV vaccination levels.


For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.