This week marks National Influenza Vaccination Week, which highlights the importance of the influenza vaccine. As the shift to value-based healthcare becomes more apparent practices are putting a more significant focus on preventing and managing chronic disease. By embracing preventive care, they can improve health outcomes for patients and boost revenue.
The problem is that patients are not seeking preventive care. Research shows that up to 50% of patients are not receiving recommended care for certain conditions. How is your organization communicating with patients about preventive care?
Flu vaccination coverage estimates from past seasons demonstrate that few people get vaccinated for the flu after the end of November. Only 40% of the U.S. population received the vaccine by this time last year.1 Now is the time to encourage vaccinations among your patients.
Here is some information from the CDC that you can use to educate your patients:
- It is not to late to get vaccinated even though the holidays have already begun
- If the flu virus is still spreading and infecting people, vaccinations should continue to occur to prevent further outbreaks.
- If you never got a flu shot and got the flu, you could still benefit from a flu vaccination to protect you against three or four different strains of the virus.
Another goal is to communicate the importance of influenza vaccinations to patients considered as a high risk of developing serious flu-related complications.
- Young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease. It is also important to encourage those patients 65 and older to get flu vaccines.
- For those at high risk, the flu is more likely to lead to hospitalization or death.
- Anyone who gets the flu has the potential to pass it on to someone at high risk including infants and those younger than six years old who are too young to receive the vaccine.
The CDC offers a complete list of people who are considered high-risk for developing flu-related complications.2
It is a known fact that early detection and prompt treatment can reduce the severity of flu complications. Healthcare organizations can deliver personalized communications to patients, encouraging them to be active in their care and sharing essential health tips and wellness-related information. Providers can help patients schedule screenings and preventive care exams and vaccinations by communicating through multi-channel outreach including automated phone calls, text and emails. By increasing patient communications, practices can improve patient engagement, reduce no-shows and help improve overall patient health.
1 CDC, 2017, About National Influenza Week