In much-welcomed news for healthcare organizations, there’s new evidence that the ramped-up deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine isn’t just helping get more shots in arms but that it’s also helping patients feel safer about returning to the doctor.
As of April 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 100 million people (30 percent) received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 56 million (17 percent) people are fully vaccinated. In total, just over 200 million doses of the vaccine have been delivered across the U.S., and of those, almost 154 million doses have been administered.
A recent study tracks a sizable shift in patients’ attitudes and behaviors about seeking healthcare as opposed to a year ago.
- Seventy-two percent of those polled said they’d feel comfortable going to their primary care physician tomorrow (up from 40 percent in April 2020).
- Sixty-nine percent said they feel comfortable visiting a specialist tomorrow (up from 38 percent in April 2020)
- Fifty-four percent would feel comfortable having an elective procedure at a hospital.
- Sixty-four percent would feel comfortable undergoing an in-office medical procedure.
- Eighty-two percent are comfortable participating in a telehealth appointment.
The study also revealed people’s changing attitudes about getting the COVID-19 vaccine as they become better informed about its merits and see those around them choosing to be vaccinated.
- Fifty-seven percent said they would get the vaccine if one was available to them in the next 30 days.
- Sixty-two percent believe that the pandemic will end faster than if there was no vaccine.
However, despite patients’ growing confidence about the vaccine and scheduling their providers, the study showed there’s still lingering worries about the vaccine and the coronavirus itself. Patients who indicated they’re unlikely to get the vaccine cited side effects and an insufficient amount of research as their biggest concerns. And 81 percent of those polled remain troubled that COVID-19 will impact their health or their family’s health.
Though much in the study is a relief to providers, it obvious that there’s still work to done to help many patients conquer vaccine hesitancy and get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. This is a golden opportunity for healthcare organizations administering the vaccine to share vaccine information in the form of patient education.
As a trusted source of information for your patients, you can send them relevant information and facts about the vaccine quickly and efficiently through automated text messages or as group messages. Patient education about the vaccine can also be distributed through newsletters, emails, through your patient portal, or on your organization’s website.
And since patients are more likely to schedule an appointment now than anytime during the pandemic, now it also a inviting time to send out automated recall notifications for overdue preventive and chronic care.
For an all-in-one resource on the COVID-19 vaccine, including facts, best practices, and CDC recommendations to share with patients, download the guide, “The COVID-19 Vaccine: A Resource Guide.”