Today I’ll give my annual mantra on flu shots. I see flu shots as a golden marketing opportunity – easy to administer, cash even (you won’t make money, but you won’t lose anything either) and a great opportunity to connect with patients.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the week after Thanksgiving, November 27 to December 2, as National Influenza Vaccination Week. This event is designed to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination, as well as foster greater use of flu vaccine through the months of November, December and beyond. “CDC is recommending that people take this opportunity to be vaccinated and is hopeful that flu vaccine providers will use this time to enhance flu vaccine availability by scheduling additional clinics; extending clinic hours; and enabling a larger role for mass vaccination at places such as retail locations.”
CDC will have materials available commemorating National Influenza Vaccination Week and promoting the importance of flu vaccination close to the month of November under Free Flu Materials. In addition to the resources provided below, other CDC resources may be made available during National Influenza Vaccination Week.
Getting a flu shot can be a hassle for patients if they need to make an appointment. It takes time for your staff to handle, ties up an exam room needlessly, and generates little revenue. By concentrating resources and focussing on this one service, you gain efficiencies and some economies of scale. Use your reception room as a staging area, and just bring patients back to a “shot room”. Then have them wait – some snacks and drinks on hand – before releasing them. Have physicians and staff in the reception area and post-shot area to just meet and greet patients, and have patient education literature out. Do have a scheduler there to book patients for preventive care and other follow-up visits while it’s on the patient’s mind.
You can handle the paperwork later – record the basic information (name, identifier number, insurance, vaccine lot numbers, etc) on a ticket form you make up for this one purpose. This avoids the time delays of locating charts first – you can do that later. Collect fees on the spot, and collect it first. Know which of the most significant insurers will cover the vaccine – otherwise, cash/credit or debit card/check on the spot, and bill all insurers (one never knows). When sending out the postcard announcements of your flu shot day(s), make the policies on insurance clear.
I think we would all benefit from your own experiences with flu shots and vaccination programs. Post comments below!