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 Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

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: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

Scientists create innovative new 'green' concrete using graphene

24.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

24.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>