In medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences
For many vaccine-preventable diseases like influenza, vaccination rates are lower than optimal to achieve community protection. Those at high risk for infection and serious complications are especially advised to be vaccinated to protect themselves. Using influenza as a model, we studied one method of increasing vaccine uptake: informing high-risk patients, identified by a machine learning model, about their risk status. Patients (N=39,717) were evenly randomized to (1) a control condition (exposure only to standard direct mail or patient portal vaccine promotion efforts) or to be told via direct mail, patient portal, and/or SMS that they were (2) at high risk for influenza and its complications if not vaccinated; (3) at high risk according to a review of their medical records; or (4) at high risk according to a computer algorithm analysis of their medical records. Patients in the three treatment conditions were 5.7% more likely to get vaccinated during the 112 days post-intervention (p < .001), and did so 1.4 days earlier (p < .001), on average, than those in the control group. There were no significant differences among risk messages, suggesting that patients are neither especially averse to nor uniquely appreciative of learning their records had been reviewed or that computer algorithms were involved. Similar approaches should be considered for COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.
Shermohammed Maheen, Goren Amir, Lanyado Alon, Yesharim Rachel, Wolk Donna M, Doyle Joseph, Meyer Michelle N, Chabris Christopher F