Using Active Choice Within the Electronic Health Record to Increase Influenza Vaccination Rates

  • Mitesh S. Patel
  • Kevin G. Volpp
  • Dylan S. Small
  • Craig Wynne
  • Jingsan Zhu
  • Lin Yang
  • Steven HoneywellJr.
  • Susan C. Day
Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-017-4046-6

Cite this article as:
Patel, M.S., Volpp, K.G., Small, D.S. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2017). doi:10.1007/s11606-017-4046-6

Abstract

Background

Despite the benefits of influenza vaccination, each year more than half of adults in the United States do not receive it.

Objective

To evaluate the association between an active choice intervention in the electronic health record (EHR) and changes in influenza vaccination rates.

Design

Observational study.

Patients

Adults eligible for influenza vaccination with a clinic visit at one of three internal medicine practices at the University of Pennsylvania Health System between September 2010 and March 2013.

Intervention

The EHR confirmed patient eligibility during the clinic visit and, upon accessing the patient chart, prompted the physician and their medical assistant to actively choose to “accept” or “cancel” an order for the influenza vaccine.

Main Measures

Change in influenza vaccination order rates at the intervention practice compared to two control practices for the 2012–2013 flu season, comparing trends during the prior two flu seasons adjusting for time trends and patient and clinic visit characteristics.

Key Results

The sample (n = 45,926 patients) was 62.9% female, 35.9% white, and 54.4% black, with a mean age of 50.2 years. Trends were similar between practices during the 2 years in the pre-intervention period. Vaccination rates increased in both groups in the post-intervention year, but the intervention practice using active choice had a significantly greater increase than the control (adjusted difference-in-difference: 6.6 percentage points; 95% CI, 5.1–8.1; P < 0.001), representing a 37.3% relative increase compared to the pre-intervention period. More than 99.9% (9938/9941) of orders placed during the study period resulted in vaccination.

Conclusions

Active choice through the EHR was associated with a significant increase in influenza vaccination rates.

KEY WORDS

active choice choice architecture nudge physician behavior behavioral economics electronic health record influenza vaccination 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitesh S. Patel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Kevin G. Volpp
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Dylan S. Small
    • 2
  • Craig Wynne
    • 1
  • Jingsan Zhu
    • 1
    • 4
  • Lin Yang
    • 1
  • Steven HoneywellJr.
    • 1
  • Susan C. Day
    • 1
  1. 1.Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.The Wharton SchoolUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, Leonard Davis Institute of Health EconomicsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Penn Medicine Center for Health Care InnovationUniversity of Pennsylvania Health SystemPhiladelphiaUSA

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