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.
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