NASHVILLE — Implementing a telephone reminder program raised pneumococcal vaccinations in Medicare recipients, according to a poster presented at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners 2014 meeting.

Immunization rates revealed only 33.45% of Medicare recipients were up-to-date on pneumococcal (PPSV) vaccinations. A healthcare team led by Julie A. Koch, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, of Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, determined that this rate offered sufficient evidence to pilot a change in facility practice in order to increase immunization rates.

The pilot program was two-fold. First, Medicare recipients were called one-day prior to office visits with an additional standardized script informing them of PPSV coverage and prompting patients to ask about vaccine benefits with their provider. Then, all eligible patients were offered PPSV during the visit and immunized patients were queried to determine the trigger for vaccine acceptance.

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Of the patients in the program, 133 (mean age, 76.7 years) were immunized. Of that group, 64.7% of patients were white, compared with 18.8% African-American and 16.5% Hispanic. Vaccine acceptance was similar in male (n=68) and female (n=65) patients.

About 80% of patients reported that the telephone reminder as the trigger for vaccine acceptance, whereas provider recommendation was reported as the triger in 66.67% of patients.

Immunizations records audited after the pilot program revealed 61.76% of Medicare recipients were up-to-date on PPSV, representing a 28.31% increase, according to the investigators.

“The telephone reminder was an inexpensive and time-efficient strategy,” wrote the researchers. The team elected to combine the reminder with electronic health record prompts for primary and secondary prevention in senior patients in the future.

Study authors noted the low percentage of minority vaccination acceptance, stating “additional investigation is needed to identify effective strategies for increasing PPSV rates in minority populations.”


  1. Koch J. Poster #NP107. “Using telephone reminders to increase pneumococcal vaccination rates.” Poster presented at: AANP 2014. June 17-22, 2014; Nashville, Tenn.