Phone Reminders for Flu Shots

One thing leads to another and I found myself poking around the American Journal of Managed Care today. Doesn’t that title seem redundant to you? As though there might be, say, a Canadian version of the same publication?

In this journal, I found an interesting piece about the use of phone reminders to get patients in for their flu shots. The article highlights include:

Conclusion: Telephone intervention was successful at increasing vaccination rates in a diverse managed care population that had already received mailed reminders. Tailored messaging for pneumococcal vaccination through telephone reminders increases patient demand for vaccination and should be implemented by managed care organizations seeking to increase their vaccination rates.

Take-away Points
This randomized trial demonstrates the effectiveness of a telephone intervention for increasing adult pneumococcal vaccination rates among high-risk patients across racially/ethnically diverse managed care clinics.

Not knowing that pneumococcal vaccination is needed is common among high-risk patients, despite their exposure to routine preventive services reminders.

Telephone outreach increases adult vaccination in diverse managed care settings across a broad spectrum of age and comorbid conditions.

Telephone calls are inexpensive for the potential benefit provided.

Increased data capture regarding prior immunizations can improve the targeting of patients and lower the cost of outreach programs.

Note that this study only examines the effect on adult vaccines, but I presume that the results would be similar, if only lower, in a pediatric practice. What the study also doesn’t examine is what happens when you run out of vaccine or it comes late.

Still, I would consider this an endorsement for the various phone reminder systems.  If not, why not?

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