Using Active Choice Within the Electronic Health Record to Increase Influenza Vaccination Rates
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Despite the benefits of influenza vaccination, each year more than half of adults in the United States do not receive it.
To evaluate the association between an active choice intervention in the electronic health record (EHR) and changes in influenza vaccination rates.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Active choice through the EHR was associated with a significant increase in influenza vaccination rates.
KEY WORDSactive choice choice architecture nudge physician behavior behavioral economics electronic health record influenza vaccination
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