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Converting Intention into Action: Prompting People to Write Down the Date and Time They Planned to Get a Flu Vaccine Increased Vaccination Rates

Source: NIH Press Release, June 13 2011,  PNAS Article April 29, 2011

Katherine Milkman and colleagues analyzed the effects of 3 different flu vaccination reminder mailings sent to employees of a large firm. The overall vaccination rate among study participants in the control group, who received a mailed reminder about a free on-site vaccination clinic, was 33.1 percent. The rate among those who received the same reminder plus a prompt to record the date of the clinic increased by 1.5 percentage points relative to the control group. Those who received the reminder with a prompt to record the date and time had a 4.2 percentage point increase in vaccination rates relative to the control group. Richard Suzman, director of the National Institute on Aging’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research, stated, “In this study, the research expands the application of behavioral economics to the health care setting, focusing on individual models of decision-making and resulting in a meaningful improvement at zero cost. It suggests that making a very concrete plan to take a particular action can help turn the intention into action.”