Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Patient reminders boost immunization rates

20.07.2005


Patient reminders can help physicians improve immunization rates for their practice, according to a new review of studies.
All six of the reminder and recall systems tested -- including post cards, letters and phone calls -- resulted in better immunization coverage, the review finds. The boost in immunization rates held true for both adults and children -- and across an array of clinical settings. The review, which encompasses 43 patient-reminder studies, found immunization increases "in the range of 1 to 20 percentage points."

Study co-author Julie C. Jacobson Vann, Ph.D., says physicians in private practice, public health departments or academic medical centers can feel confident about setting up a patient reminder or recall system for immunizations. "I think it’s a very simple intervention for the fast-paced lives most of us lead," she says. When the reviewers pooled the results from the reminder and recall systems studied, they found that those patients who were reminded were 70 percent more likely to have been immunized.


The review appears in the July issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

The review found that four of the six reminder tools or systems created statistically significant improvements in immunization rates.

Person-to-person telephone reminders created the greatest gains in immunization rates, with almost twice as high a chance of patients being immunized. By contrast, computerized auto-dialer reminders only achieved a 43 percent greater likelihood of compliance. Among the mailed reminders, letters were much more effective than postcards, the review found.

In addition to patient reminders, three studies measured the combination of patient reminders and reminders for healthcare providers. Not surprisingly, these blended recall systems scored very high But were likely to cost more.

Differences in study design and implementation prevented a definitive analysis of the cost-effectiveness of immunization reminders. But technology alreadys exist to set up a recall system, including computer programs that integrate the new technology into the patient-tracking or billing systems already established within a doctors office. "There are vendors now that have fairly simple systems to assist physicians," says Jacobson Vann, who is a health services scientist with AccessCare, the Medicaid program in North Carolina.

Vaccination coverage is improving in the United States, but the challenge is to maintain and continue to build on the gains made in the 1990s, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For instance, the National Immunization Survey shows that 84.8 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months were vaccinated against chickenpox in 2003, up from 80.6 percent just a year earlier.

The review pools the trial results for medical studies which were all conducted in economically developed countries, like the United States. Jacobson Vann cautions that the finding can not be generalized for health systems in low or middle-income countries.

However, she adds, "Physicians in developed countries should be using some kind of reminder system especially if they have any kind of problems with immunization compliance." Jacobson Vann says increased vaccination rates create "herd immunity," where "even those that are not immunized will have some protection."

Creating a patient reminder system for immunizations may also be an opportunity for physicians to raise the quality of the service they provide and the overall health of the patients in their care -- beyond the boost in immunization rates.

Jacobson Vann says patients who are overdue for their immunizations can also be behind schedule for routine preventive care. An immunization reminder can create a health "spillover effect," the review notes. A reminder that brings a patient into the doctor’s office for a flu shot can create an opportunity for a physician to recommend blood pressure screening, a routine breast exam or annual pap smear.

Julie Jacobson Vann | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hbns.org
http://www.ncaccesscare.org
http://www.cochrane.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>