A Randomized Trial of Behavioral Nudges Delivered Through Text Messages to Increase Influenza Vaccination Among Patients With an Upcoming Primary Care Visit

Mitesh S. Patel, Katherine L. Milkman, Linnea Gandhi, Heather N. Graci, Dena Gromet, Hung Ho, Joseph S. Kay, Timothy W. Lee, Jake Rothschild, Modupe Akinola, John Beshears, Jonathan E. Bogard, Alison Buttenheim, Christopher Chabris, Gretchen B. Chapman, James J. Choi, Hengchen Dai, Craig R. Fox, Amir Goren, Matthew D. HilcheyJillian Hmurovic, Leslie K. John, Dean Karlan, Melanie Kim, David Laibson, Cait Lamberton, Brigitte C. Madrian, Michelle N. Meyer, Maria Modanu, Jimin Nam, Todd Rogers, Renante Rondina, Silvia Saccardo, Maheen Shermohammed, Dilip Soman, Jehan Sparks, Caleb Warren, Megan Weber, Ron Berman, Chalanda N. Evans, Seung Hyeong Lee, Christopher K. Snider, Eli Tsukayama, Christophe Van den Bulte, Kevin G. Volpp, Angela L. Duckworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate if nudges delivered by text message prior to an upcoming primary care visit can increase influenza vaccination rates. Design: Randomized, controlled trial. Setting: Two health systems in the Northeastern US between September 2020 and March 2021. Subjects: 74,811 adults. Interventions: Patients in the 19 intervention arms received 1-2 text messages in the 3 days preceding their appointment that varied in their format, interactivity, and content. Measures: Influenza vaccination. Analysis: Intention-to-treat. Results: Participants had a mean (SD) age of 50.7 (16.2) years; 55.8% (41,771) were female, 70.6% (52,826) were White, and 19.0% (14,222) were Black. Among the interventions, 5 of 19 (26.3%) had a significantly greater vaccination rate than control. On average, the 19 interventions increased vaccination relative to control by 1.8 percentage points or 6.1% (P =.005). The top performing text message described the vaccine to the patient as “reserved for you” and led to a 3.1 percentage point increase (95% CI, 1.3 to 4.9; P <.001) in vaccination relative to control. Three of the top five performing messages described the vaccine as “reserved for you.” None of the interventions performed worse than control. Conclusions: Text messages encouraging vaccination and delivered prior to an upcoming appointment significantly increased influenza vaccination rates and could be a scalable approach to increase vaccination more broadly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • behavioral nudge
  • COVID-19
  • influenza
  • text message
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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