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Friday Oct 09, 2009

Flu vaccinations: Do you want fries with that?

Do you have any pediatric patients who haven't been in for a preventive care service in more than a year? Adults who aren't coming in for regular blood pressure, cholesterol or other important screenings? These patients (or their parents) may be calling your office to make H1N1 and seasonal flu shot appointments in the weeks ahead, creating opportunities to provide them with overdue preventive services.

If it's not practical for your staff to determine what services the patient needs and discuss them when the patient calls to schedule a flu shot, you might consider brief counseling at the time of the vaccine administration about the need for specific preventive services and suggest scheduling an appointment for the near future. If you're short on time, simply reminding the patient of the date of the last visit might also remind him or her that preventive or chronic care management services are overdue.

This may also be a great time to gain new patients to your practice. Creating the atmosphere of a medical home around the vaccine services, as opposed to providing drive-thru medicine, could benefit both your practice and your patients.

They say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. Maybe when life gives you an influenza outbreak, you can make opportunities to strengthen your patient relationships.

Posted at 09:48AM Oct 09, 2009 by Cindy Hughes

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The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FPM or the AAFP. Some payers may not agree with the advice given. This is not a substitute for current CPT and ICD-9 manuals and payer policies. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.

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