ATLANTA (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Mobile reminders from health care providers to their patients, notifying them to get influenza vaccinations, significantly increases the likelihood that those patients will get vaccinated, according to a study by Dr. Katherine A. Benedict and coinvestigators in the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Benedict presented findings of the research at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The researchers used data from the March 2012 National Flu Survey, a CDC “random digit dial telephone survey” of influenza vaccination trends in adults 18 years of age and older. They analyzed the data to determine whether or not patients received reminders, recommendations, or offers for influenza vaccinations from their health care providers since July 1, 2011. They did a logistic regression analysis to determine if there was any relationship between influenza vaccination rates and receipt of recommendations from health care providers.

Almost 73% of adults reported visiting a physician at least once since July 1, 2011, the start of data collection for the March 2012 study cycle, with 17.2% reporting that they received a reminder from their doctors to get a flu vaccine. Overall, 45.5% of adults ultimately got vaccinated, with 75.6% of those who reported receiving a reminder saying that they also were offered vaccinations by their doctors.

Adults who received recommendations for influenza vaccination from their health care providers were most likely to get vaccinated, and had an unadjusted prevalence ratio of 2.09. Next likely were those who received vaccination offers (PR = 1.90), and those who simply received reminders (PR = 1.33). Furthermore, those between 50 and 64 years old were found more likely to receive a recommendation or offer – PR = 1.23 and PR = 1.09, respectively – than were those in the 18- to 49-year age range (PR = 1.06 for recommendation, PR = 0.99 for offer).

The takeaway from this, according to the investigators, is that reminders should be sent at least once at the beginning of each influenza season. Prevalence ratios were consistently higher for patients with more frequent visits to their health care providers, meaning that continued interaction with and communication from doctors increases the likelihood of vaccination. Dr. Benedict also recommended sending additional reminders throughout the season, and that patients should either seek out or be referred to doctors who offer influenza vaccinations themselves.

Dr. Benedict did not report any relevant financial disclosures.


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