How to Motivate Patients to Immunize

Margot Savoy, MD, MPH

Margot Savoy, MD, MPH

Immunization conversations can be a challenge even for the most experienced family physician. Even when both the physician and patient agree on the benefit of vaccination, the discussion may require navigating a complicated mix of public health, infectious disease, and immunology interspersed with patient fears about safety and benefit. Fitting that neatly into an already jam-packed 15-minute encounter can be difficult.

Immunization counseling provides a great opportunity for shared decision-making with your patients and lays the foundation for successful health maintenance decisions in the future. Applying some basic knowledge about communication styles, using your motivational interviewing skills, and being prepared to respond to common questions can allow even a busy provider to experience success with vaccine counseling.

Consider Flexing to Your Patient’s Preferred Communication Style

Learning styles and personality types are often an untapped resource when communicating during office visits. In general, people tend to fall into four major types: Thinkers, Planners, Dreamers, and Feelers. Figuring out your patient’s preferred style and crafting your message to make it easiest for him or her to understand the message. Table 1 reviews the common types and examples of tools that may work better with one group over another.

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Qualitative Research: How an Educational Project Changed the Way I Think About Research

Joanna L Drowos DO, MPH, MBA

Joanna L Drowos DO, MPH, MBA

Approximately 60 seconds into the jubilation over my acceptance to the prestigious Harvard Macy Institute Course for Educators in the Health Professions, I came to the stark realization that I would now need to develop a scholarly project at my own institution. Though somewhat daunting as a junior faculty member at a very young medical school, this presented an exciting opportunity to gain more knowledge and experience in medical education.

Ideally, my project would have something to do with a program in which I was already involved and where I wanted to try something new. As such, I immediately thought of one of my existing roles in our curriculum—to develop the primary care longitudinal preceptorship that runs across our entire third year (think Family Medicine Clerkship within a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship). I began to flesh out a few ideas about enhancing continuity across 3 years of training and what this could mean for the students involved but had much to learn. Continue reading