Health Services Research & Development

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Kumar D, Hemmige V, Kallen MA, Street RL, Giordano TP, Arya M. The Role of Text Messages in Patient-Physician Communication about the Influenza Vaccine. Journal of mobile technology in medicine. 2018 Sep 1; 7(2):55-59.
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Abstract: Background: Racial and ethnic minorities face disparities in receiving the influenza vaccination. A text message intervention could deliver personalized and timely messages to counsel patients on asking their physician for the vaccination. Aims: We assessed whether patients would be receptive to influenza vaccination text messages. Methods: Participants were recruited from a sample of low-income, racial and ethnic minority primary care patients. Participants completed a self-administered survey. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. Results: There were 274 patients who participated and answered the questions of interest, of whom 70% were racial and ethnic minorities and 85% owned a cell phone. Thirty-six percent reported they had never received an influenza vaccination recommendation from their physician. However, 84% would be comfortable asking their physician for the influenza vaccination. Of cell phone-owning participants who would be comfortable asking their physician about the influenza vaccination, 80% would also be comfortable receiving a text message reminder. Conclusion: Text messages may be an acceptable channel to prompt patients to discuss the annual influenza vaccination with their physicians. Text messaging is a feasible tool to engage patients in their health and improve annual influenza vaccination rates among low-income, racial and ethnic minority patients.