How Ascension, Ochsner Lafayette General are using digital tools to tackle vaccine hesitancy 


Coordination and engagement efforts are critical components of hospitals and health systems' COVID-19 vaccine administration efforts, especially as they work to combat vaccine hesitancy across the country. 

During a Jan. 27 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Phreesia, health system leaders discussed how they are combatting patients’ concerns related to the COVID-19 vaccine and the most successful tactics they've implemented to reach patients.

The speakers were:

  • Hilary Hatch, PhD, vice president of clinical engagement at Phreesia
  • Amanda Logue, MD, chief medical officer at Ochsner Lafayette General
  • Joseph Cacchione, MD, executive vice president of clinical and network services at Ascension

Five key insights:

1. Phreesia helps health systems close the "intention gap" and address vaccine hesitancy by offering digital outreach tools such as surveys to engage with patients and identify those who intend to get the vaccine, Dr. Hatch said. Pinpointing the “maybes” and the “wait-and-sees” helps create a better outlook of the vaccine administration process and then deliver personalized education to patients based on their specific concerns.

2. Ochsner Lafayette General uses digital tools to expand outreach and minimize on-site time. The health system has delivered more than 10,000 vaccinations, and does so by initiating most outreach via text message, Dr. Logue said. Patients are then connected to an online scheduling tool that lets Ochsner more easily control the volume of appointments and customize time slots based on the population's needs, such as tailored education for older.

3. Online scheduling opens the door for pre-registration. Ochsner Lafayette General is able to complete a high volume of vaccinations – about eight people vaccinated every five minutes – because pre-registering cuts down overall appointment time.

"About 58 percent of our patients do pre-registration, which reduces our timeframe when they come in significantly," Dr. Logue said. "We can go from spending 10 minutes with them to get all their registration information updated down to about 2 minutes just to confirm them, and then they can turn right around and get their vaccine. This is how we're able to run through eight patients every five minutes if we are running at our full staff."

4. Ascension taps Phreesia for better understanding of patient hesitancy with vaccines. The health system had done internal surveys of its employees and found more clinical workers were willing to get the vaccine, but to understand the demographics of patients who were willing or unwilling, the health system sent out a survey to nearly 19,000 patients to get their input, Dr. Cacchione said.

5. Ascension will use feedback from the survey to tailor education and other interventions, based on the various reasons behind patients’ vaccine concerns

"We really want to focus on those folks who are not willing and understand them better and the reasons why so we can start to slice and dice up who are the populations that we really need to educate and create systems or processes to help resolve their hesitancies," Dr. Cacchione said.

Click here to view the webinar presentation.


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