Patient Views on Reminder Letters for Influenza Vaccinations in an Older Primary Care Patient Population
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OBJECTIVES: To explore the perspectives of older adults on the acceptability of reminder letters for influenza vaccinations. METHODS: We randomly selected 23 family physicians from each Family Health and Primary Care network participating in a demonstration project designed to increase the delivery of preventive services in Ontario. From the roster of each physician, we surveyed 35 randomly selected patients over 65 years of age who recently received a reminder letter regarding influenza vaccinations from their physician. The questionnaires sought patient perspectives on the acceptability and usefulness of the letter. We also conducted follow-up telephone interviews with a subgroup of respondents to explore some of the survey findings in greater depth. RESULTS: 85.3% (663/767) of patients completed the questionnaire. Sixty-five percent of respondents recalled receiving the reminder (n=431), and of those, 77.3% found it helpful. Of the respondents who recalled the letter and received a flu shot (n=348), 11.2% indicated they might not have done so without the letter. The majority of respondents reported that they would like to continue receiving reminder letters for influenza vaccinations (63.0%) and other preventive services (77.1%) from their family physician. The interview participants endorsed the use of reminder letters for improving vaccination coverage in older adults, but did not feel that the strategy was required for them personally. CONCLUSIONS: The general attitude of older adults towards reminder letters was favourable, and the reminders appear to have contributed to a modest increase in influenza vaccination rates.
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