Utilizing Technology to Affect Influenza Vaccine Coverage Among Children with Chronic Respiratory Conditions
Purpose: To integrate text messaging into a multi-component reminder system to improve influenza vaccination rates among children with chronic respiratory conditions.
Background: Influenza presents burdens for children with chronic respiratory conditions including increased mortality, morbidity, hospitalizations, and decreased quality of life for children and caregivers. Influenza vaccinations may reduce these complications yet approximately half of children remain unprotected annually. Synthesized evidence supports integration of text messaging into a multi-component strategy to increase the influenza vaccination rate in many populations of interest.
Methods: The intervention was a single text message and electronic mail message sent to all families in a private pediatric pulmonology practice who enabled text and/or electronic mail messages in the patient portal. A follow-up survey assessed various aspects of message receipt. Surveys were completed without collection of demographic information.
Results: Electronic mail messages were sent to 3140 addresses available in the patient portal. The number of text messages sent out via the patient portal was 75 with 66 (88%) delivered successfully. Follow-up surveys were initiated by 107 recipients. Frequency analysis showed that participants preferred text and electronic mail messages over other forms of communication. A statistically significant positive relationship was found utilizing Chi Square between those who received a message and those whose child received an influenza vaccination (p= .027).
Conclusions: Text and electronic mail messaging are cost-effective and well-received forms of communication that can be easily integrated into existing systems. These delivery routes are translatable to many populations and can convey various types of messages.