These Consumers Have the Highest Risk of Being Hospitalized from Flu Complications
By Carrie Evangelinos
The best way to avoid the flu may be obvious - get a flu shot. Yet, only 41% of adults got the recommended flu vaccine in 2016.
Average healthcare costs associated with the flu top $10 billion each year, meaning that employers and payers are motivated to encourage consumers to get vaccinated.
However, when outreach attempts are made by population health managers to their consumers, they often receive comments, like “I’m healthy,” “I don’t need it,” or “the flu shot makes me sick.”
Baby Boomers are over 3 times more likely to indicate intent on getting a flu shot than Millennials, who are much more likely to cite that they don’t need a flu shot because they are healthy. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are far more likely to cite “I don’t like getting shots” as a barrier - more so than Millennials. And, while it's important to understand your population as a whole and their barriers to getting the flu vaccine, it's even more important to understand their individual behaviors and health risk levels.
Big data is the key to increasing flu vaccine rates.
Only big data can determine which of your consumers are at high-risk of being hospitalized from flu complications. Big data also reveals who is most impactable, who is most receptive to behavior change and which methods of communication your consumers prefer. This allows population health managers to achieve significantly higher consumer health engagement rates.
Consumers with comorbidities can skyrocket flu hospitalization rates.
CDC flu guidelines show that vaccines are recommended for everyone over 6 months old, with an emphasis on high-risk groups. So, who exactly are these high-risk groups and what are the repercussions if they get the flu?
While it may seem evident that individuals with chronic conditions or comorbidities are at higher risk of being hospitalized if they get the flu, most don’t know what their likelihood odds are.
According to Welltok's proprietary database, consumers with diabetes, heart failure, stroke and/or depression, just to name a few, have significantly higher likelihood rates of hospitalization due to a flu diagnosis. Just exactly how much higher? In some cases, as high as 162%. This means that population health managers should put greater emphasis on targeting and rewarding individuals with these specific chronic conditions to get flu shots.
Vaccines are the best tool we have to prevent influenza. So, as soon as vaccines become available, population health managers should take every step possible to engage their consumers in getting their shots. By identifying and targeting consumers in your populations who have certain health risks, your organization can have a greater impact this flu season in preventing hospitalizations and avoiding escalated costs while improving quality of life.
The flu shot may not be perfect, but it can prevent 50% to 60% of hospitalizations and 80% of deaths from flu-related complications among the elderly. Each year, approximately 20% of Americans are diagnosed with the flu and this year is expected to be particularly bad. Millions of people become ill, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu every year causing significant burden on consumers, their families and the healthcare system.
To strategically increase flu shot vaccinations, use big data and advanced analytics to understand your consumers, especially those who are high risk with comorbidities. Contact Welltok today and discover how the power of big data can activate your consumers to get their flu shots.
Stay tuned for the second part of this blog series where we reveal strategies to driving flu shot vaccinations...