BACKGROUND: Preventative health services, including herpes zoster vaccination rates, remain low despite known benefits. A new care model to improve preventative health services is warranted. The objective of this study is to investigate whether the functions of an electronic medical record, in combination with a pharmacist as part of the care team, can improve the herpes zoster vaccination rate. METHODS: This study was a 6-month, randomized controlled trial at a General Internal Medicine clinic at The Ohio State University. The 2589 patients aged 60 years and older without documented herpes zoster vaccination in the electronic medical record were stratified on the basis of activated personal health record status, an online tool used to share health information between patient and provider. Of the 674 personal health record users, 250 were randomized to receive information regarding the herpes zoster vaccination via an electronic message and 424 were randomized to standard of care. Likewise, of the 1915 nonpersonal health record users, 250 were randomized to receive the same information via the US Postal Service and 1665 were randomized to standard of care. After pharmacist chart review, eligible patients were mailed a herpes zoster vaccine prescription. Herpes zoster vaccination rates were compared by chi-square tests. RESULTS: Intervention recipients had significantly higher vaccination rates than controls in both personal health record (relative risk, 2.7; P = .0007) and nonpersonal health record (relative risk, 2.9; P = .0001) patient populations. CONCLUSIONS: Communication outside of face-to-face office visits, by both personal health record electronic message and information by mail, can improve preventative health intervention rates compared with standard care.
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