Increasing Immunization Awareness Using Mobile Technology

Pharmacy Times, October 2014 Diabetes, Volume 80, Issue 10

Walgreens launches "Immunization Intelligence" in its App to improve patient support.

Walgreens launches "Immunization Intelligence" in its App to improve patient support.

Despite routine recommendations, American adults continue to have low immunization rates for vaccine-preventable diseases such as shingles, influenza, whooping cough, and pneumococcal disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that only 20% of adults at high risk for pneumococcal disease are vaccinated against it, while merely 14% of adults at high risk for tetanus and whooping cough are protected against them.1 Pharmacists can play a vital role in helping to increase immunization rates and reduce vaccine- preventable disease. Pharmacy-enabled technology can also help to impact immunization rates.

Many pharmacies offer greater access to vaccines through convenient hours and without appointments being required. And convenience is paramount in the busy lives of Americans. A study indicated that one-third of adult patients received their immunizations during evening, weekend, and holiday hours.2

Despite the convenience and accessibility that pharmacies offer, patients still face barriers such as misconceptions about immunization effectiveness and about which immunizations are needed. To help plan immunizations and understand which ones are right for the individual patient, Walgreens has taken convenience a step further through mobile technology.

With the goal of improving “immunization intelligence,” Walgreens recently launched new functionality within its mobile app to provide valuable support and resources on immunizations in one convenient location. Patients can easily view their immunization history for all services administered at a Walgreens pharmacy, and can self-report vaccines received elsewhere. The app’s immunization functionality also allows patients to e-mail their immunization history to their health care provider directly from the app.

One of the most anticipated and requested features within the immunizations functionality of the Walgreens app is the “Smart Recommendations” tool, which identifies CDC-recommended immunizations that are personalized based on a patient’s age and immunization history. Recommendations include more information about vaccines and allow patients to schedule immunization appointments right from the app.

Patients are always on the go, and the Walgreens mobile app is conveniently close at hand. The app delivers critical immunization tools and information. It is designed to evolve further in order to encourage immunization intelligence and help empower patients to protect themselves and their families from vaccine- preventable diseases. Through its leveraging of mobile technology and its more than 27,000 knowledgeable pharmacists, Walgreens is committed to driving immunization rates in the communities this drugstore chain serves.

Dr. Novielli is senior manager, Enterprise Immunization Services, Walgreen Co.

References:

  • Williams WW, Lu P-J, O'Halloran A, et al. Noninfluenza vaccination coverage among adults—United States, 2012. MMWR. 2014;63(05):95-102.
  • Goad JA, Taitel MS, Fensterheim LE, Cannon AE. Vaccinations administered during off-clinic hours at a national community pharmacy: implications for increasing patient access and convenience. Ann Fam Med. 2013;11(5):429-436.