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Attitudes and Practice towards Influenza Vaccination

The objective of the study was to explore the changes in attitudes, practice and knowledge about influenza vaccination using an interactive computer-based educational program. Ninety parents whose kids were in the age group of 6 months-5 years participated in the study in October-November 2007. Pediatric emergency department was the place where a pre-post non –randomized study was made. There were used two computer-based kiosks to show the interactive Patient Education and Motivation Tool with influenza vaccine specific content. Interesting and useful results and conclusions were made. The study showed Patient Education and Motivation Tool to be necessary and effective method for assessing and describing “changes in the influenza vaccine knowledge and attitudes in a pediatric emergency department as well as pediatric ambulatory inner city clinic” (p.3).

In the article “Evaluation of a Computer-based Patient Education and Motivation
Tool on Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice towards Influenza Vaccination” the authors discuss the changes in knowledge, attitudes and practice concerning influenza vaccination in an inner city setting using an interactive computer-based educational program. It is mentioned that about 36,000 people die in the United States every year because of influenza-related illnesses and 134,000 are hospitalized. Children have a very high rate of influenza-related hospitalizations, thus in 2003-2004, 52 kids died from influenza.
The authors of the article inform that The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends influenza vaccination of children aged 24-59 months. The survey showed that in Baltimore City about 39.8 percent of kids aged 6 months-2 years have got only one vaccination, while only 25 percent have got full two doses. The influenza recommendations of ACIP also draw attention the importance of “educating parents about the impact of influenza and the potential benefits and the risks of vaccinating young children”. Thus, the purpose of the study was to research the changes in knowledge regarding influenza vaccination among Baltimore parents of kids aged 6 months to 5 years.

Explaining the methods of the study, authors mention that the pre-post study was made in pediatric emergency department and pediatric clinic situated at the University of Maryland. Socio-demographic characteristics (location, gender, race, primary care provider, insurance, age and if the child had received a flu shot), knowledge, attitudes and practice (questions were based on the framework of the health belief model) of participants were a part of study variables. Almost all information was completed by parents and the language of the program was English. The whole program lasted 20 minutes and was a part of regular clinic visit.

Authors explain that Patient Education and Motivation Tool is an “interactive computer-based educational program designed to teach children and parents about the importance of flu vaccine, its prevention and management” (p.3). It consists of three components, such as Screening, Learning and Post-education evaluation.

Interpreting the results of the study, the authors pay attention that using the pre-post educational program made an 18% improvement in influenza vaccine knowledge. About 84% of parents understood that their child would get the flu this year. 95% pf parents were sure that the flu shot was safe for their kids, nevertheless 32% imagined it to be painful, and 63% expected their kids to have bad reaction after the flu shot. There were also 42% of parents who supposed that their kid could get the flu after havening a flu shot. Authors emphasize that the use of such educative program changed the attitudes towards the influenza vaccine as to its safety and side effects. Also 93% of parents admitted the wish to recommend the program to others, and 77% would be interested in using PEMT in the near future.

Expressing my personal opinion, I should say that the Patient Education and Motivation Tool is a useful program that can be effectively used to provide opportunities for parents and their kids to learn about influenza vaccine. Such program can educate people in the field of vaccination, in order to guide their decisions in future. I am sure it can reduce the time that clinical stuff spends providing education of parents. Together with the authors, I believe that such kind of programs have very “important implications for the future computer-assisted education programs for other medical topics” (p.6).

 

Reference:

Joshi, A., Lichenstein, R., King, J.,Arora, A., Khan, S. (2008). Evaluation of a Computer-based Patient Education and Motivation Tool on Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice towards Influenza Vaccination. Retrieved from http://www.aahperd.org/aahe/publications/iejhe/upload/09_A_Joshi-2.pdf article #4