William Shrank, MD, MSHS, the chief medical officer of Humana, discusses how the company is trying to overcome any vaccine hesitancy both in its workforce and in its insured member population.
William Shrank, MD, MSHS, the chief medical officer of Humana, recently talked with The American Journal of Managed Care® how the company is trying to overcome any vaccine hesitancy both in its workforce and in its insured member population.
So first, how is Humana trying to overcome vaccine hesitancy, not only in its members and patients, but also within its own health care workforce?
Well, it's just so important that we have an open, honest discourse about what we know about the safety and efficacy and really the public health importance of the vaccine. There is a lot of, frankly, misrepresentation in the media, and a lot of common misperceptions about potential risks. And as we have opened up lines of communication, we have very routine discussions with our associates at Humana. And we're providing a considerable amount of outreach to our members, to encourage them to use the vaccine, to talk to them about what we know about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, how important it is for us all to get vaccinated, and also to address some of the real-world considerations, whether it’s challenges with sort of digital literacy and the challenges of actually finding appointments. We're doing our best to support our members to schedule appointments, we're supporting them if they need transportation, we're trying to provide a real, holistic set of solutions and support to engage our members and to encourage them to receive the vaccination.
What do providers need to keep in mind when talking with patients who hold certain opinions about vaccinations or are just unsure? For instance, a recent AARP poll found that nearly half of older adults are hesitant about recommended vaccines overall, which has implications for COVID-19 vaccine uptake.
Well, I think it's really important to have a conversation with a patient that focuses on where that patient is coming from. You need to understand sort of the very personal reasons that patients have, the perceptions or views that they hold, and then address them at a very personal level. There's not a single sort of pitch that works for everyone. It's really around understanding what the concerns are that each patient is struggling with, and to try to make sure that if there is misinformation that's behind that perception that that you share the facts, that you share the evidence, and that you do so in a way that's really easily understandable and comprehensible.