Flu Prevention: 3 Best Practices for Member Outreach Campaigns

According to the CDC, influenza is the most frequent cause of death from a vaccine-preventable disease in the United States. As flu season approaches, many people are scheduling an appointment with their doctor or stopping by their local pharmacy to get a flu shot. However, there are many who wait several months into the season before getting vaccinated or choose to opt out of the shot altogether.

In a recent Video Brief, the HMS Eliza team shared the importance of health plans deploying flu shot reminders and offered valuable insight on running an effective flu prevention member outreach campaign across your population. Here are three things health plans should keep in mind when building out their flu prevention strategy for member outreach campaigns: 

1. Debunking Myths about the Flu

Through years of interactions with healthcare consumers, we’ve learned that there are several common myths about the flu shot that often keep people from getting vaccinated. For example, the most reported reason members don’t get the flu shot is because they say they don’t get sick and don’t believe they will need it. Another common reason people skip the shot is concerns about safety. Almost 40% of those asked believe that the flu shot causes the flu. It’s important to educate members via outreach campaigns about the flu vaccine to help prevent the spread of misinformation and keep members healthy.

2. Leveraging Behavioral Science

An outreach strategy grounded in behavioral science yields the best results. By understanding someone’s attitudes and beliefs, paired with factors such as demographics and prior knowledge, we can predict the likelihood of completing a health behavior. Eliza’s flu immunization outreach takes a proactive, engaging, and measurably effective approach. By incorporating multi-channel communications into our member outreach campaigns, Eliza can efficiently point members to appropriate resources for getting vaccinated and address any misinformation or barriers members have to getting the flu shot.

3. Targeting and Tailoring Member Outreach

It is critical to target and tailor member outreach campaigns for different age groups to fit their unique differences and goals. We found that many young adults and adults prioritize ease and convenience when making a health decision – they are more likely to get the flu shot if they can get it in five minutes at their local pharmacy, instead of making an appointment with their doctor. In addition, it's important to make sure your member outreach campaigns are designed with other cultures and languages in mind.

For example,  to create the most persuasive and effective member outreach campaign for Spanish members, it is important to design an outreach that is culturally appropriate to overcome barriers. A one-for-one translation approach from English to Spanish does not work, especially concerning healthcare topics such as the flu. The words we use in our Spanish outreaches are carefully chosen to convey the correct meanings and associations to Spanish-speaking members. For example, because there is no word for ‘flu’ in Spanish, we worked to change our language so that members would better understand the urgency of getting a flu vaccination and would not confuse it with the common cold. 

Are you interested in learning more about how your health plan can deploy a member outreach campaign for flu prevention?

Watch this Flu Prevention Video Brief for more details from healthcare engagement experts about creating an effective member outreach campaign before flu season strikes. 


For more information on how HMS Eliza can help with your health plan member engagement needs this fall, contact us at eliza@hms.com or 1.844.343.1441.


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