Text messaging reminders for influenza vaccine in primary care: a cluster randomized controlled trial

As technology grows, innovations within the pharmaceutical fields also grow. A new trend in community pharmacies to incorporating technologies like handheld devices into maintaining healthcare is steadily expanding. A study was conducted to develop methods for conducting cluster randomized trials of text messaging interventions utilizing routine electronic health records at low cost and to assess the effectiveness of text messaging influenza vaccine reminders in increasing vaccine uptake in patients with chronic conditions. This study included 156 general practices who used text messaging software who had not previously used text messaging influenza vaccination reminders. Eligible patients of these practices were within 18-64 years old. 77 practices out of 156 were assigned to the intervention group (random) and 79 practices were assigned to the standard care group. The results found that text messaging increased absolute vaccine uptake by 2.62% (95% CI −0.09% to 5.33%).

This study found that text-messaging, a very low cost method, resulted in moderate improvements in influenza vaccine uptake. Although the changes were not drastic, it shows that implementation of these new intervention types could have a positive impact within the community setting. Hopefully, a better intervention method using technologies like this will grow in the future.

Herrett E., Williamson E., Staa T., et al. Text messaging reminders for influenza vaccine in primary care: a cluster randomized controlled trial. BMJ. 2016; 6