How Telehealth Can Encourage Immunizations

Happy senior man using a digital tablet computer while sitting on the sofa in the living room at home

Importance of Immunizations

Healthcare professionals play a key role in educating parents and patients about the importance of vaccination.  According to the CDC, patients can be protected against serious diseases like shingles, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis B, and seasonal flu with critical vaccinations.  Recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), August highlights the importance of immunization to protect patients against vaccine-preventable diseases with timely vaccination.

The CDC suggests that adults should receive a vaccine every year to protect against seasonal flu.  Adults should also receive the Td/Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).  Adults with chronic conditions may be at increased risk for complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases.  Based on one’s age, health conditions, vaccines received as a child, and other factors, a patient may also need additional vaccines.

Role of Telehealth in Driving Immunization

With telehealth and virtual care, providers can ensure that their patients remain up to date on recommended vaccines.

Home health agencies can use Synzi’s messaging tool to provide timely patient education about the importance of vaccines for one’s health.  The automated functionality helps post-acute care organizations provide immunization reminders, refer patients to vaccine providers, and follow-up with patients to ensure vaccination:

  • Initial messaging can highlight the need for a certain vaccination and the recommended timing.
  • Follow-up check-ins (whether conducted via video, messaging, or assessments), can determine if a patient has declined an opportunity to get vaccinated.
  • Additional messages can be programmed and sent out to remind the patient about how, when, where, and why one should obtain a specific vaccination.
  • Messaging can be translated into the patient’s primary or preferred language, driving deeper understanding. Engaging communications about needed immunizations will help patients address potentially avoidable health issues complications.

Communicating the importance of vaccines during a time of quarantining and social distancing is critical.  As National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) President-Elect Patricia N. Whitley-Williams, MD of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School recently posted, “Keeping up with recommended vaccines can be challenging for parents and healthcare professionals alike. But we should not be so distracted by COVID-19 that we neglect our general health. Immunization should be routine—otherwise, we may soon see outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the US and around the world. Combined with another wave of COVID-19, the impact could be devastating for both individual families and the healthcare system at-large.”

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