Patient Portal Reminders for Pediatric Influenza Vaccinations: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

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DOI: 10.1542/peds.2020-048413


Objectives: In a large health system, we evaluated the effectiveness of electronic health record patient portal reminders in increasing pediatric influenza vaccination rates.

Methods: We conducted an intention-to-treat randomized clinical trial of 22 046 children from 6 months to <18 years of age in 53 primary care practices. Patients (or parent and/or proxies) who were active portal users were randomly assigned to receive reminder messages framed as gains or losses or no messages. They were separately randomly assigned to receive a precommitment message before the influenza season. The primary outcome was receipt of ≥1 seasonal influenza vaccinations. Additionally, children 6 months to <3 years of age due for a second influenza vaccine were randomly assigned to receive a reminder or no reminder for the second vaccination.

Results: First-dose influenza vaccination rates were 56.9% in the control group, 58.0% in the loss-frame reminders group (P = .07), and 58.0% in the gain-frame group (P = .47). Rates were 58.3% in the precommitment group versus 57.0% in the control group (P = .11). Adjusted risk ratios for first vaccination were 1.02 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.00-1.04) for loss-frame reminders, 1.01 (95% CI: 0.98-1.05) for gain-frame reminders, and 1.02 (95% CI: 1.00-1.04) for precommitment messages versus controls. Second-dose vaccination rates were 44.1% in the control group and 55.0% in the reminder group, with an adjusted risk ratio of 1.25 (95% CI: 1.07-1.45).

Conclusions: Patient portal reminders for influenza vaccines in children, whether framed as gains or losses, did not increase first-dose influenza vaccination rates but were highly effective for the second dose of the vaccine.

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