Healthcare News & Insights

4 ways to encourage immunizations in your hospital

Vaccinations are a relatively simple way to prevent disease, but many adults have reservations about them. From fear of needles to misconceptions about whether vaccines can increase the likelihood of certain illnesses, there are a variety of reasons why someone would avoid getting vaccinated. 

But it’s important for providers at your facility to do their part to clear up those misconceptions and encourage patients to receive necessary immunizations.

And it’s not only crucial for patients to get vaccinated for the flu and other illnesses – hospital staff should also be current on their vaccines.

A sobering statistic to highlight the importance of getting vaccinated: More than 50,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases or other complications each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Improve immunization

Knowing there’s a problem is the first step toward addressing it. Here are four other steps your hospital can take to improve vaccination rates among your community, your patient mix and your staff, straight from the American Medical Association.

  1. Make it easy. Offer vaccinations at convenient hours and allow walk-in appointments at satellite clinics and offices to improve access to necessary vaccines – especially during flu season, which is just starting to pick up. You can also use nonphysician providers to administer the vaccines, which frees up physicians’ time. Convenience is a key factor in whether people get vaccinated, so making immunizations as accessible as possible can encourage people to take advantage.
  2. Use anecdotes. Just telling people to get their shots is fine, but sharing facts and stories about what can happen if they don’t is often a stronger form of encouragement. Letting a patient know about a friend who had a 103-degree fever and was bedridden for days is more vivid than just saying getting the flu can cause a fever. In addition, remind people about those who can’t get vaccinated, including babies. It’s important for them to see the impact of immunizations goes beyond them.
  3. Have providers recommend vaccinations. Patients trust their doctors, so a recommendation from their provider goes a long way toward encouraging them to get vaccinated. Identify people who need immunizations, and have providers send out information via email or the patient portal about which vaccinations they need and how to get them. Don’t use a lot of jargon – just state clearly what the patient needs to do and why it’s important.
  4. Work together. Assigning certain staff members to track vaccinations and monitor which ones patients need what allows everyone to stay updated on immunizations and can foster trust in your hospital, since there’s a sense that employees care about patients. And when patients trust their healthcare organizations, the likelihood of them sticking to their overall treatment plan is higher.

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