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Creating An Effective Vaccination Reminder Program

Vaccination uptake faces difficulties in the US, particularly as children reach young adulthood. To combat this and encourage engagement with pertinent health guidelines, reminder systems can be implemented to provide additional education following broadcasts about vaccine coverage.

Vaccination uptake faces difficulties in the US, particularly as children reach young adulthood. To combat this and encourage engagement with pertinent health guidelines, reminder systems can be implemented to provide additional education following broadcasts about vaccine coverage.

Every year, it’s estimated that lifesaving vaccines prevent 14 million diseases and 33,000 deaths while potentially saving the economy over $43 billion in healthcare costs. Investing in vaccinations can generate long-term benefits to individuals’ lives as well as our society in general.

Factors Influencing Vaccine Uptake

Vaccine uptake is a critical issue in the US, and while participation remains high among younger populations, those numbers decrease dramatically as children enter their teenage years. This presents an alarming risk of lowered disease protection levels with missed doses that can quickly escalate beyond home callouts to work and school with extended community exposure leading to greater healthcare costs and economic burdens.

To avoid these consequences associated with vaccine hesitancy in adolescents and adults, proactive engagement is needed throughout communities all across America.

How to Encourage Patients to Vaccinate

Reminder systems play an essential role in ensuring patient engagement and uptake of vaccinations. Recent studies have identified the most effective methods for optimizing outreach to reach maximum compliance rates: text messages, postcard mailings, or email campaigns.

Of these three types of reminders, texting proved 32.1% successful at bringing patients up-to-date with their vaccines compared to a 27% success rate from postcards and 20.8% via emails. However, this data also shows that using multiple touchpoints yields greater results than any single approach alone, while permanent forms like texts/postcards tend to be favored by patients due to ease of knowledge retention.

Maximize vaccine uptake rates by leveraging multiple touchpoints with ‘permanent’ reminders. A combination of text messages, emails, phone calls, and postcards offers patients a selection of recall mechanisms to ensure they take advantage of the available services—a critical step in boosting public health outcomes.

2 Steps To More Effective Vaccine Outreach

Boosting patient engagement and vaccine awareness can be a tricky endeavor. Fortunately, healthcare entities have recommended to improve their outreach – combining postcard reminders with text messages is the best way to maximize read rates and increase vaccination uptake. By simply sending out reminders within seven to ten days of one another in either option 1 (postcard followed by follow-up texts) or 2 (a postcard and two-part message set).

This two-step approach has been shown time again as one surefire way to increase vaccination rates across all demographics.

Option 1: 

  • Day 1 – Send a postcard
  • Day 7-10 – Send Text Follow-up

Option 2:

  • Day 1 – Send a postcard
  • Day 7 – Send Text #1
  • Day 10 – Send Text #2

Make scheduling a vaccination quick and easy for your patients – include a closed-loop appointment setting option in your follow-up text. Patient feedback shows how convenient this feature is, leading to faster vaccine appointment schedules.

Best Practices of 2-Step Vaccine Outreach

Communicate Benefits – Make sure to emphasize the importance of vaccination and its benefits when crafting your messaging. Showcase how it will help protect individuals from health risks, allowing them to make informed decisions about their well-being.

Sample message: Flu is typically mild. However, nearly 20,000 children are hospitalized every year with the flu. Keep your family healthy by scheduling your flu shot today.

Increase Awareness – Forge a connection with audiences by emphasizing the importance of the specific vaccine, reminding them why it is vital to receive its protective benefits.

Sample message: As a reminder, our records show you may be missing an important CDC-recommended vaccine.  

Appointment Reminders

The research presented by the Journal of Adolescent Health confirms that a multi-channel communication strategy is an effective way to improve appointment adherence rates.

“The most effective reminder strategy for improving kept-appointment rates was a combined telephone and postcard reminder…”

As adolescents transition into adulthood, text-based reminders have emerged as an increasingly essential tool for keeping people informed and connected with their primary care providers – including ensuring they remain up-to-date on vaccinations. This approach reemphasizes the importance of providing numerous touchpoints when it comes to engaging patients in today’s health landscape.

Reactivation of important immunization schedules can be reinforced via strategic mailings. Test messages and postcards offer an effective way to proactively reach out to families that have missed vaccines with informational messages and postcards — an effective way of encouraging them back into the fold for a necessary procedure.

Return on Investment

With appointment times often proving critical to healthcare providers, the two-touch strategy has been proven as an optimal approach to boosting attendance and increasing revenues. A Prevention in Pediatric Care study estimated that for every dollar invested using this method could return up to $7.28 (given a reimbursement rate of $100 per provider visit) – a substantial gain from any initial investment.

To ensure success with remuneration strategies, utilizing these best practices is essential:

  • Stay generic – Do not recommend a specific product, course of vaccination, or specific health care provider; instead, use generic language.
  • Offer service to all clients – The program should be offered to all health insurers and healthcare entities without any consideration of the overall volume or value of expected or past referrals.
  • No incentives – There will be no coupons, or offers of free items given by the Pharmaceutical company to the healthcare entity nor patient in exchange for receiving the vaccine.
  • Be transparent – All communications should disclose financial support and that no patient-specific information is provided to the Pharmaceutical company.
  • No Patient Data – Patient-specific data used to make an outreach should flow directly from the healthcare provider to TeleVox*.
  • Honor Opt-Outs – Patients who wish to opt out from vaccine reminder communications should have that request honored.
  • Vaccination Registry – Healthcare providers can leverage vaccination registries to identify eligible patients.
  • Using clean data – Performance improves when the data used for outreach is complete and accurate.