For over 15 years, the partnership between Healthy Wirral Partners (HWP) and Cerner – now Oracle Cerner – has been at the forefront of digitising electronic health records (EHRs) and population health within in the UK.
Our combined population health data platform, HealtheIntent®, and predictive risk analytics have proven to be powerful tools in recent COVID-19 and influenza vaccination initiatives for Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (WUTH), Wirral Council, and all the other members of HWP.
The primary aim of their winter 2021/22 campaign – which ran for eight weeks from 26 November to 12 January – was to encourage COVID-19 and influenza vaccination uptake among key cohorts of Wirral residents. This included people aged between 50-65, pregnant woman, and people living with long-term health conditions.1
Utilising our vast population data set and predictive risk analytics capabilities, HWP were able to convey meaningful public health messages directly to those identified as high risk and therefore would benefit most from vaccination.
Working with communication and vaccination teams, behavioural marketers at ICE created messaging and content through social media platforms, such as Facebook, centred around the behavioural principle of ‘social norming’. More specifically, promoting the commonality of vaccination among others to normalise this behaviour and encourage individuals to participate.
The imagery and messaging of the campaign was purposely designed to alleviate vaccine hesitancy, and that both COVID-19 and influenza vaccines were indeed safe and effective.1
Analysis determined that during the eight-week period, 4,488 people clicked through to the vaccination booking site, while the overall visibility of the messaging was calculated to be just under one million (950,816).1
In relation to cost avoidance for the NHS, it was estimated the campaign contributed to c.£25,000 of savings for maternity services. For 50-65-year-olds and those with long-term conditions, a similar analysis anticipated savings to the NHS could be in the region of c.£70,000, against an initial investment of £9,000.1
The work done by Oracle Cerner and Healthy Wirral Partners was in support of the wider national vaccination campaign. The NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group final evaluation report emphasises how local insights gained by the HealtheIntent platform were invaluable in the design of the campaign:
“Using insight of our local population and more specific behavioural techniques in partnership with ICE that the national focus could not achieve.”1
It is hoped that similar strategies can be adopted in supporting the Wirral Council and Core20PLUS5, a nationwide initiative tackling health inequalities and deprivation.1, 2
Dr Paula Cowen – GP and former chair of NHS Wirral CCG – emphasises the practicalities of the HealtheIntent platform in identifying the unique care needs of the Wirral population, and addressing the health inequalities of her region:
“The digital work that we’re doing is like the golden thread throughout, in facilitating and targeting particular areas.”
The COVID-19 and influenza campaign delivered significant engagement outcomes and demonstrated the potential of adopting a proactive health strategy.1 Technology that adopts this approach enables local health and care services to design proactive models of care to improve the health and wellbeing of people today, as well as in future years.3 This is particularly relevant in addressing the social determinants of health and reducing health inequality as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 ICE Creates & Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group, "Wirral CCG Vaccination Uptake Evaluation Report," Liverpool, 2022.