Author(s): Hart T, AhlersSchmidt CR, Chesser A, Jones J, Williams KS,
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: Immunization schedules are complicated and difficult for parents to remember. Parents are willing to receive text message reminders. However, it is unknown whether physicians are willing to implement such a system. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a text messaging reminder system from the physician's perspective. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Surveys were distributed in the winter of 2009-2010 by e-mail, facsimile, and telephone interview to 149 family physicians and pediatricians who provide immunizations in Sedgwick County, Kansas. RESULTS: A 69\% response rate was achieved. Nearly all (92\%) respondents reported that they currently communicate information about immunization schedules to parents using traditional methods such as verbal reminders or appointment cards; however, none (0\%) currently use text or email to generate reminders to parents. Even when asked to assume they had all of the necessary resources, almost one-third (31\%) reported that they were "very unwilling" or "unwilling" to use a general text-messaging program, 43\% were "neutral" or "undecided," and only 27\% were "willing" or "very willing." Physician willingness to use a text-messaging program was not related to their reported gender (χ²(2)=0.224, p=0.894), specialization (χ² (2)=4.363, p=0.113), years in practice (F(2, 91)=0.435, p=0.149), or comfort level with technology (χ²(4)=1.861, p=0.761). CONCLUSIONS: There is a hesitancy to implement a text message reminder system for childhood vaccine schedules. This may be due to the lack of empirical evidence supporting the use of this technology for health reminders or the lack of willingness to implement another system. Further investigation is needed to determine why few physicians are willing to implement text messaging for immunization reminders.
This article was published in Telemed J E Health
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination