Educating parents about the vaccination status of their children: A user-centered mobile application

Prev Med Rep. 2017 Jan 14:5:241-250. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.01.002. eCollection 2017 Mar.


Parents are often uncertain about the vaccination status of their children. In times of vaccine hesitancy, vaccination programs could benefit from active patient participation. The Vaccination App (VAccApp) was developed by the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative, enabling parents to learn about the vaccination status of their children, including 25 different routine, special indication and travel vaccines listed in the WHO Immunization Certificate of Vaccination (WHO-ICV). Between 2012 and 2014, the VAccApp was validated in a hospital-based quality management program in Berlin, Germany, in collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute. Parents of 178 children were asked to transfer the immunization data of their children from the WHO-ICV into the VAccApp. The respective WHO-ICV was photocopied for independent, professional data entry (gold standard). Demonstrating the status quo in vaccine information reporting, a Recall Group of 278 parents underwent structured interviews for verbal immunization histories, without the respective WHO-ICV. Only 9% of the Recall Group were able to provide a complete vaccination status; on average 39% of the questions were answered correctly. Using the WHO-ICV with the help of the VAccApp resulted in 62% of parents providing a complete vaccination status; on average 95% of the questions were answered correctly. After using the VAccApp, parents were more likely to remember key aspects of the vaccination history. User-friendly mobile applications empower parents to take a closer look at the vaccination record, thereby taking an active role in providing accurate vaccination histories. Parents may become motivated to ask informed questions and to keep vaccinations up-to-date.

Keywords: ED, emergency department; Electronic health records; Immunization; Mobile health; Patient education; Patient empowerment; QM, quality management; RSV, respiratory syncytial virus; SOP, standard operating procedure; VAccApp, Vaccination App, a mobile application for vaccination histories; VPD, vaccine-preventable disease; Vaccination history; ViVI, Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative; WHO, World Health Organization; WHO-ICV, International Certificate of Vaccination, issued by the World Health Organization.