Driving COVID-19 vaccinations with your patient engagement platform
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that daily deaths from COVID-19 are rising, particularly among the unvaccinated. As new variants continue to spread, how can the healthcare industry effectively encourage more inoculations?
Hospitals and health systems are uniquely positioned to bolster vaccination efforts as they are often the most trusted entities in their communities. Patient engagement platforms are one solution healthcare organizations can leverage to change patients’ attitudes and, in turn, the course of the pandemic.
Education and outreach
Some of the biggest barriers to closing the vaccine gap are confusion and skepticism around the safety and efficacy of the shots. Just over half of unvaccinated adults believe the vaccine poses a greater risk to their health than the virus. Meanwhile, of those who have yet to receive the vaccine, 10% say they want to “wait and see” how it works for others. This suggests that a solid patient education program can help holdouts understand the positive effects of getting vaccinated.
Healthcare organizations can turn to platforms like FollowMyHealth® to give patients access to accurate vaccine information from reliable sources, answer frequently asked questions and dispel common myths circulating on social media. By creating a patient bulletin, organizations can let patients know via text, email or push notification when new information is available on the platform.
For a more targeted approach, organizations can also mine electronic health records (EHRs), health information exchanges and other data repositories on the backend to generate a list of names and phone numbers of those without vaccine documentation. From there, users can text unvaccinated patients straightforward instructions on how to schedule an appointment. Organizations that have online scheduling capabilities within these platforms can make this process even easier by enabling patients to make an appointment from their everyday mobile devices.
Reminders, check-in and screening
Reducing no-shows is another key component to a successful vaccine campaign. Sending appointment reminders through patient engagement platforms is a simple way to ensure people show up as scheduled (and prevent healthcare organizations from wasting doses of the vaccine). This is particularly important with the COVID-19 vaccine because patients with the Moderna and Pfizer versions should receive their second doses within a certain timeframe to maximize effectiveness.
Patient engagement platforms can also improve the vaccination experience through automated mobile check-in and telehealth capabilities. For example, with FollowMyHealth patients can check in up to 24 hours in advance, update health and insurance information and access HIPAA documentation—all from their smartphones. This improves office wait times which can then help improve social distancing at facilities. To provide an extra layer of safety (and convenience), healthcare organizations can offer telehealth options to answer patients’ questions during on-demand visits and screen for COVID-19 symptoms right before the vaccine appointment.
People often rely on word-of-mouth to make healthcare decisions; making this process safe and easy could prompt newly vaccinated people to convince those in their circles to get their shots as well.
It is important to remember healthcare organizations cannot persuade all their patients to get vaccinated, but they can still convince some patients to get vaccinated with clear and consistent communication. And during a pandemic, changing the views of a small group can make a big difference.
To learn more about how your organization can leverage FollowMyHealth to power deeper patient engagement during and beyond the pandemic, visit https://about.followmyhealth.com/
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