Results from a new study, published in Vaccine, suggest it could be feasible to use mobile technologies to improve influenza vaccine awareness among the general population.
As part of a recent public-private partnership in Canada, a free smartphone app named 'Carrot Rewards' was developed to help promote healthy behaviours. Between mid November and mid December 2016, a ‘Carrot Flu Campaign’ was delivered to all valid Carrot users (n = 80,229). Eligible users received loyalty points for completing a flu campaign quiz. Users were then split into two groups with those living near participating pharmacies receiving additional offers, including bonus points for visiting a pharmacy and speaking with a pharmacist about the vaccine.
While 38.1 per cent of users completed the quiz, only a small number visited the pharmacy, and loyalty point incentives did not appear to influence visits. Among a sub-sample of users who completed the flu campaign between their baseline and a follow up Health Risk Assessment (HRA) survey, around 5 per cent more users reported receiving the influenza vaccine during the influenza season compared to the previous year.
The authors said the study shows a novel incentive-based smartphone application could deliver influenza vaccine educational material in a real world setting.