Text Message Improves Pediatric Flu Vaccination Rates

Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, FAAP Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Population and Family Health Columbia University - College of Physicians & Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health Medical Director, New York-Presbyterian Hospital Immunization Registry (EzVac) Co-Director, Primary Care Clinician Research Fellowship in Community Health New York, NY 10032 MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, FAAP

Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Population and Family Health, Columbia University – College of Physicians & Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health
Medical Director, New York-Presbyterian Hospital Immunization Registry (EzVac);
Co-Director, Primary Care Clinician Research Fellowship in Community Health

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Influenza can be a very serious disease and is more than just a bad cold. Some children who are 6 months through 8 years need two doses of the influenza vaccine in a season depending on if and when they received previous influenza vaccine doses. We know that only about half of these families who want to vaccinate their children against the flu and get the first dose, come back to get the second dose.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: We found the most effective text message vaccine reminders were ones that not only let families know when the next vaccine dose was due and times families could walk-in to receive the vaccine but also included educational information about why it was important that children receive the second dose that season in a timely fashion.

These kinds of text messages are a quick and easy way to help families get the protection they need and want for their children. Families had very high levels of satisfaction, would recommend the text messages to other parents, and perceived them to be helpful. They also thought it demonstrated that the doctor’s office “cared”.

Text message programs like these allow for health care providers to care for their patients even when they are not in front of them in the office somewhat like a modern day “house call”.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: This randomized controlled trial provides valuable information for establishing best practices for influenza vaccine text message reminders. Important next steps will be to assess the impact of these types of educational text message vaccine reminders in other populations as well as for other vaccines.

Citation:

Text message reminders for second dose of influenza vaccine: a randomized controlled trial

Melissa S. Stockwell, Annika M. Hofstetter, Nathalie DuRivage, Angela Barrett, Nadira Fernandez, Celibell Y. Vargas, and Stewin Camargo

Pediatrics peds.2014-2475; published ahead of print December 29, 2014, doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2475