Immunization reminder-recall systems are cost-effective methods to identify and notify families whose children are due soon for immunizations (reminder) or are already behind (recall). They are powerful ways to ensure optimal vaccination rates. Many state immunization information systems (IIS) and electronic health records (EHR)s can run reports of patients who are due or overdue easily – if immunization records and family contact information is updated at every visit. Building those practices into patient flow is key.
Methods to remind or recall families include:
- Phone Calls placed by office staff – they tend to be more effective than auto-dialer calls, but often cost more.
- Auto-dialers – they automatically dial phone numbers and either play a recorded message or connect the call to a live person. Such systems also can be used for appointment reminders.
Mail reminder cards or letters (snail mail) – your IIS or EHR may print these for you. Another approach is to have the family fill out the reminder card for the next visit (e.g., dose 2 or 3 of HPV vaccine) when in your office.
Text messages – you may want to get families to opt-in for text messages during a visit so your office can send text message reminders to both parents and adolescents. While parents/guardians need to consent for the vaccine, it is useful to include adolescents in the discussion of their own care.
Patient Portals – many EHR systems come with a patient portal option. Practices can use this feature to send e-mails to patients or parents prompting them to check their patient portal, which will remind them of vaccinations that are due.
The following is a list of some auto-dialer vendors. Please note that the AAP cannot endorse or recommend specific products or brands. This is only meant to aid you in your selection.