Results from a Northwestern Medicine study showed that a two-minute video concerning pneumococcal vaccination sent to patients before a primary care appointment tripled the likelihood of patients getting the vaccine. The vaccination can prevent severe disease caused by the bacteria, primarily pneumonia and meningitis.
Studies have demonstrated that Americans receive only about half the recommended preventive care resources, and that only about 60 percent of adults age 65 and older receive the pneumococcal vaccine.
Part of the reason patients don’t receive preventive services is because healthcare professionals don’t have time to educate them during short office visits. Patients may also have limited awareness about the need for vaccination.
People who are 65 and older are at an elevated risk of dying from pneumococcal illness, a severe infection that may trigger pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections (sepsis). Annually, about 18,000 adults age 65 and older die from pneumococcal illness in the U.S.
The new strategy of pre-visit education has the potential to routinely inform individuals about essential preventive care, offering crucial information linked to approaching clinic visits. The video allows the limited time in a healthcare appointment to be targeted to a person’s particular questions and issues.
The Northwestern study, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, was presented during the 2016 Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting in Hollywood, Florida.
The researchers developed a two-minute video about pneumococcal vaccination, emphasising the need for lifetime vaccinations. An electronic health record system sent patients a link to the video a week before the patient’s physician visit.
“This approach demonstrates a new way for patients to receive effective, efficient education about preventive care,” said Kenzie A. Cameron, the principal investigator and a research associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a recent news release.
Over six months, 116 patients received messages recommending they view the video. In total, three-quarters of the patients opened the message, and 90 percent of them watched part of the video, while 64 percent viewed the complete video. The results showed that watching just part of the video tripled the likelihood of patients getting the vaccine.
”It is critical to provide adults who are newly eligible for vaccination accurate information prior to offering the pneumococcal vaccination,” Cameron said. Otherwise, patient’s preconceived notions about vaccination and incomplete information may cause individuals to initially refuse the shot, she said.
“Once patients refuse the shot, healthcare providers are put in the position of changing someone’s response as opposed to shaping an initial response,” Cameron explained. “It’s much more difficult.”
The study was mainly designed to determine the ability of digital information messages to alert individuals for preventive care. Now, the subsequent steps will be to determine vaccination rates in a clinical study.
The complete Northwestern video can be watched here.