The Use of Medical Claims Data for Identifying Missed Opportunities for HPV Immunization Among Privately Insured Adolescents in the State of Iowa
Rates of adolescent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination remain low, despite decades of safety and effectiveness data. We sought to quantify the extent of missed opportunities (MOs) for HPV vaccination among adolescents ages 11 to 13 in Iowa and compare the number of these MOs by gender and rurality.
Medical claims data from a midwestern insurance provider were used to calculate total numbers of MOs for HPV vaccination for adolescents with continuous health insurance enrollment between ages 11 and 13 (n = 14,505). We divided MOs into several categories: total, among non-initiators, occurring before initiation, occurring after the first dose, and occurring between first and last dose. Finally, we used t-tests to perform subgroup comparisons (urban vs. rural; male vs. female).
Over half of adolescents failed to initiate vaccination by age 13. The majority of MOs occurred prior to initiation. Urban adolescents had more MOs than rural counterparts and males tended to have more MOs than females. Females experienced significantly fewer overall MOs than males 5.98 (SD = 5.49) compared to 6.18 (SD = 6.04) for males. Additionally, among non-initiators, urban females had significantly more MOs overall (M = 7.13; SD = 6.41) compared to rural females (M = 6.58; SD = 5.51).
Results highlight the extent of MOs that occur at the critical time period between ages 11 and 13. A lack of opportunity was not the barrier to HPV vaccination, particularly among both males and urban adolescents. It will be critical for providers to use known strategies to reduce MOs and utilize all adolescent visits to ensure vaccination is completed by age 13.