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    Patient prompts can increase flu shot rates nearly 40%

    The flu vaccine has been shown to prevent, or at least lessen symptoms, of influenza, yet less than half of American adults receive the vaccine annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

    The key to improved vaccination rates can be as simple as a programming change that reminds physicians to have the conversation about the flu vaccine with their patients.

    In a new study, titled "Using Active Choice Within the Electronic Health Record to Increase Influenza Vaccination Rates," conducted by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers found that a simple prompt programmed into an electronic health record (EHR) at an internal medicine outpatient office resulted in a nearly 40% relative increase in flu vaccinations among adult patients over the prior year and a 6% increase in comparison to two other internal medicine clinics in the same health system used as controls.

    Mitesh S. Patel, MD, MBA, MS, an assistant professor of medicine and healthcare management in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School and lead author of the report told Medical Economics well-designed "nudges" can be helpful across many areas of practice, especially when used to increase uptake of evidence-based practices like influenza vaccination.

    "Medical decision-making is often sub-optimal," Patel says. "Active choice is a method used to prompt one's attention, provide information on the risks and benefits of options, and make it easy to submit a decision."

    Next: Prompots not a panacea

    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Ms Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare Executive, and ...

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