Text Messaging Reminders Increase Second Dose Influenza Vaccinations in Children

Dec. 29, 2014
Researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center studied the impact of text message reminders for the second dose of influenza vaccine required for many young children to protect them against the virus. The findings showed that sending text message reminders both increased receipt of the second dose of the vaccine by the end of the season as well as brought children in sooner to be vaccinated.

Researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center studied the impact of text message reminders for the second dose of influenza vaccine required for many young children to protect them against the virus. The findings showed that sending text message reminders both increased receipt of the second dose of the vaccine by the end of the season as well as brought children in sooner to be vaccinated.

When educational information on the importance of the second dose of influenza vaccine was embedded into the text messages there was an even greater effect compared both with conventional text messages that only told families when and where to go as well as with written reminder only.

Results from the paper are published online in the journal Pediatrics.

The randomized controlled trial was conducted during the 2012-2013 influenza season in three community-based pediatric clinics, affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Northern Manhattan. Children in 660 families were in need of a second dose of influenza vaccine that season took part in the intervention. Most families were Latino and publicly-insured; nearly three-quarters (71.9 percent) thought that their child was at least somewhat protected from influenza after one dose.

The children who ranged in age from 6 months through 8 years old were assigned into one of three groups: “educational” text message, “conventional” text message, and “written reminder-only” arms. All families had a cell phone with text messaging capabilities. A written reminder with next dose due date was given at the time of the child’s first influenza vaccination to all families.

The results showed that children in the educational text message reminder group were significantly more likely to receive a second dose of influenza vaccine (72.7 percent) than both those in the conventional text message reminder group (66.7 percent) and written reminder-only group (57.1 percent).

Parents reported liking the text messages and saw them as helpful because they acted as a reminder, provided information in a quick way that did not require talking with anyone, and demonstrated someone “cared,” according to the researchers. Nearly two-thirds (60.8 percent) of parents reported the reminder was either the main reason or part of the reason they brought their child for a second dose, and 70.1 percent said that it affected bringing their child sooner. Parents also noted they would recommend the text messages to other parents.

Sponsored Recommendations

Care Access Made Easy: A Guide to Digital Self-Service for MEDITECH Hospitals

Today’s consumers expect access to digital self-service capabilities at multiple points during their journey to accessing care. While oftentimes organizations view digital transformatio...

Going Beyond the Smart Room: Empowering Nursing & Clinical Staff with Ambient Technology, Observation, and Documentation

Discover how ambient AI technology is revolutionizing nursing workflows and empowering clinical staff at scale. Learn about how Orlando Health implemented innovative strategies...

Enabling efficiencies in patient care and healthcare operations

Labor shortages. Burnout. Gaps in access to care. The healthcare industry has rising patient, caregiver and stakeholder expectations around customer experiences, increasing the...

Findings on the Healthcare Industry’s Lag to Adopt Technologies to Improve Data Management and Patient Care

Join us for this April 30th webinar to learn about 2024's State of the Market Report: New Challenges in Health Data Management.