Vaccine administration hurdles
The COVID-19 vaccine roll out has been rocky to date. According to the CDC’s website (as of February 4, 2021), 35.2 million Americans have received their initial dose even though 57.5 million doses have been distributed. A key challenge – beyond the logistics of storage and creating administration sites – has been communication. Each state is handling their own distribution plan, health systems are relying on their poorly-adopted patient portal to communicate with eligible patients, and many eligibility categories are vague including “high risk” and “essential workers.” As a result, patients who may be eligible to be vaccinated are confused or unsure of how to access it.
In a recent poll, 45% of adults aged 65 to 80, and 42% of all adults aged 50 to 80 reported that they do not have an online account with their healthcare provider. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 65% of seniors reported that they did not have enough information about how to get vaccinated. In a December online survey of more than 5,500 Americans, 47% of respondents expressed hesitancy to get the vaccine.
Those are serious hurdles, but they’re not insurmountable.
Developing a comprehensive communication plan
In order to reach as many people as possible, deliver information in an efficient, timely way, and quell the public’s fears, think about how a digital health solution can reduce barriers for patients and providers, whether they’re technological, logistical or even emotional.
Bridge technology gaps. Give patients multiple ways to stay informed, regardless of their technology literacy level. Make sure there are communication options outside the portal and website to reach a wider population. Provide text-a-code services that allow patients to opt-in to a messaging feed to stay informed, and only require a mobile phone. Offer recorded telephone messages for patients who may only have LAN-line access.
Customize and automate outreach. Staff are stretched thin across the country. Use communication pathways that can be automatically launched and used to track patient responses and engagement. With configurable pathways, you can tailor your messages according to your organization’s administration plan, lessening the burden for staff.
Develop content to nudge and reassure. For your hesitant patient population, invite them to automated pathways that deliver factual information in bite sized chunks that are easy to understand. Use language that nudges patients toward vaccination – “you’re due for your vaccine” instead of “you’re eligible for a vaccine.” Patients trust their healthcare provider, so be a trusted source of information for them.
Engage employees and patients with Twistle
We are ready to help with user-friendly content that can be delivered to patients’ mobile phones to proactively answer questions and support them throughout the vaccination process.
The value of automated pathways is four-fold
Automating your vaccine communication efforts with tailored care pathways will benefit your organization and your patients in a variety of ways. In addition to the operational impact of being able to schedule patients more efficiently and backfill canceled appointments, it will also build trust and loyalty in a patient population who may be scared and confused, and reduce health disparities that may exist. Care teams will spend less time on the phone – both fielding incoming inquiries and conducting outgoing wellness checks – and will have more time to focus on patient care.
Twistle is currently working with large health systems to automate vaccine communication with their staff and first responders, and they are also beginning to communicate with the general public. Our pathway content is developed and fully customizable to meet your unique needs. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.