Healthcare plans and providers know the importance of immunizations for both individuals and the overall population, and thus continuously work to keep the patients in their care up to date on their vaccinations. With August being National Immunization Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to remind parents about their children’s vaccines. While most practices do their best to make a child’s next appointment during check-out, schedules change and some appointments fall through the cracks. Manually keeping track of these patients and getting back in touch with each of them can cause a serious strain on the limited resources of any organization, so providers are reminding their patients’ parents by sending them automated communications. This low-cost outreach saves on time and cost while accomplishing the goal of increasing appointments.
Multichannel Messaging Maximizes Effectiveness
To be most effective, messages should be concise, remind the patient of the importance of receiving recommended vaccinations and clearly state what action you want them to take. The delivery method for these automated communications can vary, but the most popular outreach channels are phone, text and email. Each method has its benefits: for example, emails can be sent in a newsletter format which can include far more information than a text message. However, text messages typically have a higher response rate and can also include links to important information. The best way to increase the chances of a patient scheduling an appointment is to use a mix of these channels in a multi-touch cadence.
Personalizing Vaccine Outreach
The level of personalization can also vary in these messages depending on what data a practice has available in their EMR/EHR. Automated messages that leverage variable information are far more likely to activate patients because they contain information that is specific and relevant to them. It is best to include such information as the patient’s name and the clinic’s name and contact information, plus information on the vaccinations they need.
Sending Reminders vs. Recalls
Electronic health records allow providers to identify two groups of patients who need immunization outreach. The messaging to these two groups should be somewhat different—those who are not yet overdue for care, but don’t have an appointment scheduled, should be sent reminders, while those who are overdue for their immunizations should be sent recall messages. Here are several examples:
Download this case study, Automated Messaging Drives Adolescent Immunizations, to learn more about using automated messages to increase immunization appointments.