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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.
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.
We assessed whether patients would be receptive to influenza vaccination text messages.
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.
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.
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.