Patient Experience

The real reason people don’t get vaccinated for COVID-19? They don’t feel like it.

April 4, 2022 3:52 pm

Jacob Braude, a principal at ZS, discusses research his company conducted about how the unconscious parts of the brain affect decisions around vaccination.

Also in this episode, CEO Michael Bumann from sponsor Red Dot discusses his ideal client, the hospital CFO who sees value in working with an entrepreneurial company that can help improve collections on motor vehicle accident accounts with no risk.

Jacob Braude: The use of authority figures as a way to persuade people to accept vaccines actually pushed people away from vaccination. And we still see a lot of institutions relying on authority figures as a way to help improve some of these numbers that we’re seeing.

Erika Grotto: Cognitive biases affecting vaccination decisions, today on HFMA’s Voices in Healthcare Finance podcast.

Hello and welcome to the podcast. I’m your host, Erika Grotto. Today, we’re going to be talking about vaccination and what makes people decide whether to do it. I’ll be talking with Jacob Braude from ZS, a consulting services firm with a specialization in life science. But first, let’s hear from HFMA senior editor Nick Hut and HFMA policy director Shawn Stack as they go Beyond the News.

Nick Hut: Hey, everybody. On Wednesday, March 23, Shawn and I are going to host a webinar on the latest news and trends in healthcare disruption. We’ve talked about that topic in this segment before, and we just think it’s more appropriate for a more extended format because there’s so much that we can delve into. Probably the biggest thing is what HFMA audience members, the healthcare finance professionals who chances are work at what you might call a traditional provider should know as far as the opportunities and the pitfalls for their organizations as disruption takes hold. So Shawn, what are you especially looking forward to discussing when the session takes place?

Shawn Stack: I think one of the things that we probably will focus heavily on are what’s the legacy provider’s approach to either embracing or trying to compete with some of these new disruptors, with a strong, very strong focus on value-based care over the next seven years that we’ve seen come out in the estimations of growth. And in the healthcare market, which is so large in the U.S., how are legacy providers going to react to Walmart, Dollar General, CVS Health, Microsoft, Amazon, the new Cost Plus drug company that’s a Mark Cuban company, and then Civitas. These are all very interesting and very good for the patient population, but how are legacy healthcare providers going to partner with these disruptors and really strengthen healthcare? I think there’s a lot of room here for everyone to grow in this space, so we’ll be looking at that closely.

Hut: Yeah, without a doubt. Every day there’s breaking news about Amazon or Google or one of the retailers, so we’ll definitely be discussing what those behemoths, so to speak, have in the works. There are also niche companies that are seeking to improve care delivery, in some cases for specific segments of the population. We’ll share one example of a concierge and navigation platform that represents an effort to tackle racial disparities seen in health outcomes in areas such as cardiovascular disease and maternal and infant health. Shawn, I know you’ve said there are also lessons to be gleaned from disruptors that have kind of disbanded, for lack of a better time.

Stack: Yeah, Nick, we’re gonna take a look at some of those disbanded disruptors like the Amazon Berkshire J.P. Morgan Haven venture. That’s disbanded, but they took away a lot of good information, each one of those companies, back to their own company and implemented them, so was it really—I really wouldn’t call that a failure. I would call that a disbanded venture, or disruption. Google Health, even though they’ve disbanded pieces of their projects, they’ve learned a lot and they’re going to move forward and as we all know, Google is extremely inventive, so we look forward to very interesting things in their area. And then of course, there have been some egregious and very concerning failures with Theranos, which we’ll talk about a little bit and what that might do to federal regulation moving forward for some of these groups. So it should be an interesting talk. I’m looking forward to it.

Hut: Absolutely. So there’s just a ton of insight for us to mine on this topic and the webinar takes place, again, March 23. You can get CPE for attending, and as with most webinars, the session is free for HFMA members, so if you’re interested in registering, go to and if you scroll down a little ways, you’ll see the title, which is “Beyond the News: The Healthcare Disruption Landscape.” So we hope to see you all then.

Grotto: There’s an episode of the NBC show “Parks and Recreation” that I’ve thought of many times over the last two years. In the episode, Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope, a city councilwoman, tries to pass a bill adding fluoride to municipal water. Her political rival, Jeremy Jamm, opposes the measure because as a local dentist, it’s in his business interest for people in the town to have more cavities. He spreads a bunch of misinformation about fluoride being a dangerous chemical, and Leslie Knope has to figure out a way to win over the public. In one exasperated moment, she tells her husband, “All I have on my side is facts and science, and people hate facts and science.”

The episode is from 2013, but that line comes to mind every time I read a story about misinformation around vaccines. For awhile I thought that was just me being cynical, but according to my guest today, Leslie Knope was correct. Facts and science are not the principal drivers of our decisions about our healthcare. Recently I talked with Jacob Braude, a principal at ZS, which is a consulting services firm with a specialization in life sciences. ZS conducted some research in 2021 to try to identify what tactics could convince people who were hesitant to get a vaccine for COVID or something else like shingles or HPV. We’ll link some information about that research in the show notes. Some of their findings about tactics that worked are surprising, but what was even more surprising was what didn’t.

Vaccination for COVID-19 has been the topic of hot debate, but even among those people who were enthusiastic to get their first two doses, there’s some anecdotal evidence of people saying, “Two shots is enough.” We are recording this on February 25, and I looked up some numbers just before I got on here to do this recording. According to the CDC, 215.3 million people are fully vaccinated, so two doses. Only 93.6 million people have gotten a booster. So I think maybe some of that difference can be accounted for that the younger kids, kids 5-12, the younger age, the elementary school-aged kids weren’t starting to be vaccinated until, like, November or December last year, so they wouldn’t be due for a booster yet, necessarily. But that’s still a pretty wide gap. So now we’re still kind of in that booster place. There’s been some discussion around fourth shots, although, again, we’re recording on February 25. There was news coming from The New York Times, I believe yesterday, saying that fourth shots might not really be effective and we might be able to get by on three shots for a long time. Who knows what that’s going to be even before this episode comes out? But we’ve also discussed maybe an annual routine, like, you get your flu shot every year, you get your COVID shot every year. What are you seeing among people who were initially vaccinated? I know you’ve done some research in this area, so I’m curious what you’ve learned.

Braude: Well, so, the original research that we did was back in March and April of last year. So it was really before this became a super hot topic, and we were primarily looking at, how do we help encourage vaccine acceptance across a broader pool. Now, I think you’re right, a lot of the conversation is starting to shift to, how do we get folks to accept boosters as they’re starting to get tired. Everybody’s getting really tired. And I think that accentuates one of the key areas that we wanted to look at, which is, how are the unconscious parts of their brain influencing some of the decisions that they’re making. And one of the things that the science is really clear about is that the more tired you get, the more you tend to just default to instinct, the more you rely on those sort of mental shortcuts you’re maybe not aware of. You just don’t feel like getting one, and you might provide some good rationalization, but that’s not really why you’re not getting one. You’re really just not getting one because you don’t feel like it. And that’s something that we as an industry haven’t been very good at looking at. We’ve mostly taken people at their word and worked to generate data to help explain what is the benefit and if someone’s making the decision because they don’t feel like it, there’s no amount of data that persuades them. They’re not making a data-driven decision. They’re making an instinctual decision. So I think the opportunity for a lot of folks in our area is to factor that into the way that we help explain why you should look at a booster or why you shouldn’t. I think one of the key barriers that we’re encountering with the falloff on the boosters is just the way that things have been framed, the expectation setting. There’s a lot of research that what you think about something depends on what it’s compared to. I’ll give you a non-healthcare example. They asked people to estimate how many calories were in a cheeseburger, and half of them, they first looked at a cheesecake, and they were like, oh, cheeseburger, cheesecake, cheeseburger’s probably not that bad, about 700 calories. And the other half of them first looked at a fruit salad, and they were like, oh man, compared to a fruit salad, cheeseburger’s probably killing it, that’s probably 1000 calories. So a cheeseburger’s a cheeseburger’s a cheeseburger, right? It doesn’t change. But by changing the reference point, it changes how you evaluate it. And so, you know, when we come out after the first couple of doses and say, “Everybody can take their masks off, no one needs to worry about it anymore,” before we realized, hey, vaccinated people can still catch COVID and spread COVID, I think the constant changing narrative from authority creates a framing issue where all of a sudden, I’m evaluating things differently, whereas if we’d set expectations differently in the beginning there might be much greater acceptance of boosters than what we’re seeing.

Grotto: Yeah, I was thinking not long ago about just the beginning and how little we knew about COVID at all and, you know, people are wiping down their groceries when they come home from the store. We learned a lot in the last two years, but there’s still clearly a lot to be learned, and it is exhausting, having to keep up with what it is that we’re supposed to do now. I think there’s a lot in healthcare that we can not do because we don’t feel like it. We’ve been talking a lot about deferred care and people putting off cancer screenings because of COVID because there wasn’t as much availability or people were afraid of getting sick, but I think at this point, it’s kind of like, uh, I don’t wanna. Who looks forward to their cancer screening? It feels like the same kind of energy there.

Braude: It’s worse than that. So, do you remember when Watson, when they put Watson on Jeopardy! and Watson was able to beat those couple of—OK, I like this because it gives you an example of just how underpowered we are. So the human brain operates on about 20 watts, whereas Watson was blowing through about 200,000 watts of power. So that’s how much energy it takes to think about everything rationally. We just don’t have it. We could think about a few things a day rationally, and that energy is on all our choices. Do I blow up when my kid is whining at me about something? Do I engage with their teacher? Do I make myself work out this morning when I don’t really feel like it? All of those decisions where your brain is making you do stuff that maybe your instincts are saying, meh, don’t do that, that’s a finite resource. And so if you’re spending that on making yourself understand the value of a booster and go and get it and deal with the repercussions of it, that’s not just a cost to what else you do in your health, it’s a cost that you paid to whatever else you do in your life that requires you to be making rational, thoughtful decisions. It’s a lot to ask of people.

Grotto: Wow. So then, what’s the response here? I’m asking a lot for you to even answer that question, but how can healthcare organizations keep people engaged if the end goal is getting your booster, getting whatever is next. Do they need to change their communication plan? If we already know that people are exhausted from the changing narrative and having to learn new things about whatever we all, as an industry, as a society, are learning about COVID and vaccinations and all of those things. And are there opportunities to bring in people who were hesitant in the beginning, or do we just kind of consider them lost at this point?

Braude: You asked a couple of really, I think, complicated questions. So let’s start with what can we do differently, because I think that one is more straightforward. So if you accept the biological argument that you’ve only got enough horsepower and energy on a regular day to think a certain number of things through and make rational decisions, the rest of those choices that you’re making every day—and we’re all of us making thousands of choices a day—is being governed by another system, which is wired for speed. It’s a simple rules-based system that allows you to quickly and very cheaply make decisions that are not likely to get you killed or put you in danger or endanger your family, that sort of thing. So it all comes from some sort of evolutionary imperative. And I think that the opportunity is to talk to that system at least as much as we talk to the rational brain. So for example, one of the tests that we ran in the spring is, we asked people to tell us where are the locations that you trust? So it could be fire station, military base, church, those sorts of places. Could be pharmacy. And then later, we asked them, ok, well, if you could get it at a place you trust versus neutral place, what’s your willingness to get vaccinated, and all of these people, all the respondents were either anti-vaccine or at least hesitant. And we did see a nice improvement in willingness to get vaccinated if it was at that place that they trust. And we were doing this in early days. People were going out with coolers and going to the supermarket and going to the church, and then it just became back to the sort of normal, you can get it at pharmacies, you can go into your doctor’s office, and that’s it. That’s all you get. So if those happen to be places that are not particularly trustworthy in your mind, then you miss an opportunity to bring more of those folks in. That trust location is a signal for that second system, that instinctive system. I’m at church. This is a place I trust. I value what they tell me. I don’t have to necessarily critically think about everything they tell me here. I can trust it without having to do that, so if I can get vaccinated there, that’s a way for me to make that decision without it having to be something that I rationally walk through the data in my head and make an educated decision to do it. And I think there are a number of those kinds of things where we’re just missing an opportunity to incorporate that so it feels, instead of it not feeling like something you want to do, it feels more like something you want to do. So like, making it easy to do it was helpful for people. Perspective taking worked really well. If you just say to someone, “Why do you think that Erika”—maybe you’re talking to your friend—“Why do you think Erika wanted to get the booster?” Just letting them think that through for a second can be a really good way to get somebody comfortable with it when just trying to explain to them, like, here’s why you should do it doesn’t actually convince them.

Grotto: So how much of this, especially if we’re talking about locations you trust or institutions you trust, how much is just convenience too? If I’m already at church and they’re offering me a vaccine as I’m walking out the door, that’s a lot easier than making an appointment at a pharmacy and taking the time to do it when I’m not planning to go out or I’m not planning to go over to that side of town.

Braude: Yup. So we did—convenience, absolutely. Remember, that second system, wired for efficiency. So anything that reduces effort is going to make that system go, oh, we should probably do that. That seems like something that’s good for us. We also tested, the researchers would call it authority bias. The same way we did with places you trust, who are people you trust? You get to tell us. Could be Sean Hannity. Whatever. We don’t care. But then later, we said, OK, Sean Hannity, for example, thinks you should get vaccinated. That actually backfired. The use of authority figures as a way to persuade people to accept vaccines actually pushed people away from vaccination. And we still see a lot of institutions relying on authority figures as a way to help improve some of these numbers that we’re seeing. And I think that it’s an example of using that second system badly. It doesn’t help. If anything, it can hurt.

Grotto: Wow. That’s really interesting. I would not have expected that.

Braude: No, we didn’t either. We were all surprised.

Grotto: That’s really interesting, although, I mean, is it just—does it just kind of come down to “You can’t tell me what to do”? Is that what it is? What’s the dynamic there?

Braude: We don’t know. It’s a great question. It’s become so politicized in the U.S. in particular. One of the other ones that we looked at is, like, it’s called in-group bias. It’s basically, people like me do this, and so I should do it too. And it has a corresponding effect, which is, people that I specifically am not like are doing this and so I shouldn’t do it. It can push you away or toward things. We didn’t really see it influential in COVID vaccines, but we did see it work in adult vaccines like shingles vaccine or pediatric vaccines. If you thought that people like you accept these vaccines, it made you—even if you’re hesitant or against vaccines—it made you more comfortable with the idea and more willing to accept it. So if I’m a physician and I’m counseling someone who’s hesitant, talking about other patients I have who are like them—maybe they’re moms that have kids of a certain age and they play a certain role in their community and they’ve been really accepting of vaccines—can be very persuasive rather than just explaining the data and trying to make it a rational decision.

Grotto: Yeah, it seems, just from things I’ve heard, anybody telling people—anybody telling people—to get a vaccine doesn’t seem to be the thing that works. And there’s been a lot of discussion on, shouting at people, “You have to get this” isn’t going to make anybody get on your side. There is a physician who—I do not know, but I admire. I follow her on Twitter. Her name is Kimberly Manning. She’s with Emory University School of Medicine, and she tells a lot of stories on Twitter about talking to patients about getting the vaccine, and it’s always question based. It’s always, why are you hesitant? What questions can I answer for you? And I’m sure that plenty of people leave her and say, “Thanks but no thanks,” but she tells some stories of people saying, “Well, I’m concerned about this,” and she can answer those questions in a way that satisfies what they wanted to know. And then several people she’s been able to say, “OK, do you want to get your first dose today,” and a lot of them take her up on that. She seems to have tapped into that, but I feel like as an industry, we haven’t been able to accomplish that yet.

Braude: Yeah, I would agree. One of the ones that I’ve been using personally in my life, so there’s a principal called social facilitation, which is basically the idea that when you become aware that people are paying attention to you and judging you, you change your behavior. So for example, they did this experiment at a coffee shop where they put a picture of a pair of eyes on the tip jar just to prime people with the idea that, you’re standing in line, you’re in a coffee shop, people are paying attention to what you’re doing, and tipping is a good thing to do, and tips doubled when they did that. So if you’ve got a teenager who’s got a job where there’s a tip jar, that’s one that I always recommend. So anyway, we tested this with folks who are vaccine hesitant where if they felt like their vaccine status was something that people were aware of and were paying attention to, then they were more willing to get vaccinated. And the way I’ve been practicing this in my life is, when I saw my barber, first thing out of my mouth is, “Hey, are you vaccinated?” Same thing with my irrigation guy or whoever it is. And you can see in their face that they’re very surprised that you care, that you’re willing to ask, and it makes an impact. And the next time I went to get my hair cut, the first thing out of her mouth was, “Hey, I got my first dose.” So I think those kinds of tactics that just make people feel like it is something that they should do or want to do or would be easy to do or that they can trust it rather than focusing on what we know from the science can help with that chunk of people who are not making the decision rationally, who are making it emotionally.

Grotto: Let’s flip this for a moment and talk about people for whom getting the COVID vaccine has really kind of made them want to be engaged in things like vaccinations, because most of us, we get vaccinations when we are babies and toddlers and  children and then we don’t really get a whole lot of that throughout our lives. So you might get a flu shot, you might get certain things, but for the most part, your shots happen when you’re too young to remember them. So then as adults, the COVID-19 shot might be the first thing that they’ve really engaged in saying, OK, I’m going to get this vaccine. I know someone who I won’t name, but she didn’t get routine vaccinations for her children, and she was sort of—I don’t want to say anti-vaxxer because that has a connotation at this point in time—but she didn’t want to get those vaccinations, the routine vaccinations for her kids when they were little. But she has now become an outspoken advocate for the COVID-19 vaccination. So that has brought her into the system. So I haven’t gotten a flu shot in years, but I got one this year, and it just felt like a natural, convenient thing to do. And this probably comes back to the convenience and trust. I was at my doctor’s office for something else, they said, “Do you want a flu shot?”  I said “sure.” Are there opportunities for healthcare organizations to identify people who are now a little more dialed in and might take advantage of vaccines when they haven’t before—not just a flu shot, but things like a shingles vaccine or other things that you get as an adult as you get older?

Braude: So I would say the jury’s still out. I think it’s a double-edged sword. It looks promising, but there are many folks who, because of the speed or the misunderstanding or the politicization over the COVID vaccine went the other way, and that made them anti-other vaccines. I think what you’re describing is the development of a new one of these subconscious rules. By going through this process of COVID and seeing how vaccination was able to help limit the spread and limit the hospitalizations and deaths that we were seeing and allow us to open back up, a lot of us developed a new rule: Vaccines are good. I should get those. Preventive vaccines are something that is important in my life. So yes, I think anyone who developed that new rule going through that process is going to need a lot less persuasion about other vaccines because now they’ve got that rule in there. And so their instincts are saying, yeah, this is probably good, and very quickly, they’re going, “Yeah, I’ll take the shingles vaccine,” or “Do I want the flu vaccine? Yes I do.” I think that the challenge is also going to be, for those folks who have developed a “vaccines are untrustworthy” rule, maybe they got vaccinated as kids, but now they’ve become part of this skeptical group. It’s going to be then hard to, they turn 65, they need the pneumococcal vaccine. We may encounter new resistance over the next five or 10 years as that group of folks age into that area and were part of that anti-COVID vaccine group. And this is like a very exciting time for vaccines. I mean, there’s so much research around mRNA technology. We may have vaccines against all kinds of things in the future. So setting that stage now for both reinforcing the folks who now have a pro-vaccine rule in their brain and working with our healthcare professionals in particular to have more of that open question, using sites of trust, making sure that it’s easy, making vaccine status something that people are aware of and paying attention to, tapping into social groups to reinforce the idea to get a vaccine, to try to change that rule so that they are also having a pro-vaccine rule I think is going to be important not just for how we deal with this particular pandemic but all kinds of health decisions in the future.

Grotto: You mentioned you’re planning to do some more research on this topic. What are you looking to learn next?

Braude: I think we want to investigate very specifically this, like, I’ve already had one dose, or I’ve had two doses, and full immunity depends on me completing the series, either getting the booster, getting the routine annual flu vaccines or completing a series of inoculations in order to be protected from a particular disease like pneumococcal or RSV for infants or shingles. Shingles is a good one. I’m looking forward to getting that vaccine. So we want to investigate, what are the rules people have in their brains that we need to factor in and that we can bring into health systems and other types of healthcare stakeholders to help them right out of the gate be speaking to both sides of the brain. I think when COVID hit and the vaccines came out, it was moving so fast and furious that the opportunity to really come in with a two-brain, two parts of the brain—it’s not really two brains, it’s two parts of the brain—strategy off the bat, we just missed it. It was gone so fast. But now looking toward the future when it’s going to be so many amazing breakthroughs that we anticipate, having that baked into the system from the get-go I think will make the acceptance of those vaccines much more successful. So we want to look at, how do we nudge folks around boosters, how do we nudge folks around getting the second, third or fourth dose in a series and then bringing that to doctors in particular and nurses to help them in their conversations, and just stakeholders. I mean, I have vaccine conversations all the time with family and friends who are uncomfortable, hesitant, downright skeptical or against it. So getting it out into the public I think would be really useful so we don’t have all these families just yelling at each other over this topic.

Grotto: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Wow. Well, this has been so interesting. I am very curious, and I hope that you’ll all keep me posted on what you learn as you continue your research in this area. Thank you so much for joining me today and talking through some of these issues with me.

Braude: My pleasure. We’re going to be at the World Vaccine Conference, which is going to be in D.C. in April, and there’s just a ton of really interesting speakers talking about some of the new technologies that are coming out, some of the new vaccines that are going to be coming out. And we’ll be talking about this as well, trying to engage with folks both at a rational and an instinctive level if we want people to actually take these. So hopefully we’ll see some folks there.

Grotto: Let’s take a moment now to bring in our sponsor. Welcome back, Red Dot CEO Michael Bumann.

Bumann: Thank you, Erika.

Grotto: We’ve done a few of these segments thus far, and I’m sure there are people listening who are thinking, motor vehicle accident claims present a problem that we need to solve. What I want to know from you, Michael, is who is your ideal client? Who’s the one that you want to work with on these issues?

Bumann: Erika, thank you again for having me, and it really is a keen question. And to help kind of frame this up, and it’s a stat that always kind of jumps out at me is, 4% of all emergency room visits across the country relate to motor vehicle accidents, so it’s a significant tranche. When you think about what an ideal client is, the first thing we go to is volume. Who is seeing self-pay motor vehicle accident patients? Whom can we help? And most likely that’s gonna be your Level 1 and Level 2 trauma centers, but really it’s a volume kind of question at that point. But to follow onto that to get into, where do we like to partner, we like to partner with CFOs and teams that recognize the benefit of partnering with an entrepreneurial company. That recognize that you can be innovative without risk, that you can change the way things have been done in the past, there are new ways to do things and really see that, listen, we can partner with a company, we can improve our patients along with of course, you know, making more money faster without doing the work. All of those things work, but it’s finding that synergy with someone that recognizes the value of partnering with an entrepreneurial company to do good.

Grotto: Well, I definitely have enjoyed our partnership here on the podcast and the segments that we’ve gotten to do together. And this, I’m sure, will not be the last of Michael Bumann on the Voices podcast, but thank you once again for joining me today.

Bumann: Erika, it’s always a pleasure, and thank you guys for what you do. You’re doing good in the world and so nice to be a part of it with you.

Grotto: Red Dot is the best technology-enabled acquisition solution for hospital self-pay motor vehicle accident accounts. Hospitals can now leverage Red Dot’s solution to improve their bottom line revenue while dramatically improving their patient relationships by avoiding debt collection activities. Red Dot: Good for hospitals, good for patients. To learn more, visit

Voices in Healthcare Finance is produced by the Healthcare Financial Management Administration and written and hosted by me, Erika Grotto. Sound editing is by Linda Chandler. Brad Dennison is our director of content strategy. Our president and CEO is Joe Fifer. There’s still time to sign up for Nick and Shawn’s Beyond the News webinar. They’ll be discussing some of the big disruptors in healthcare and how legacy systems should respond to them. That’s taking place March 23 and it’s free to HFMA members. If you’re listening to this episode on your way to HFMA’s Revenue Cycle Conference, Shawn and I will both be presenting, so I hope you’ll come say hello. Otherwise, you can always reach us via email at [email protected].

Vaccination for COVID-19 has been a topic of hot debate, but even among those people who received their initial shots, the uptake on boosters has been underwhelming. On a recent episode of the “Voices in Healthcare Finance” podcast, Jacob Braude, a principal at life sciences consulting firm ZS, discussed what makes people decide to get vaccinated and what drives them away.

The limited power for rational thought

“The human brain operates on about 20 watts,” which is not enough to make all decisions rationally, Braude said. “We could think about a few things a day rationally, and that energy is on all our choices. So if you’re spending that [energy] on making yourself understand the value of a booster … it’s a cost that you paid to whatever else you do in your life that requires you to be making rational, thoughtful decisions.”

Add to that the changing narrative about vaccination, masking and other pandemic safety measures, and people are tired. Tired people default to instinct when making decisions, so the bottom line is that people choose not to get vaccinated because the “don’t feel like it,” Braude said.

“You might provide some good rationalization, but that’s not really why you’re not getting [a vaccine shot],” he said. “You’re really not getting one because you don’t feel like it.”

Tapping into decision-making processes

ZS tested several tactics around vaccination decisions and identified several that could motivate hesitant people to get shots. For example, if vaccines were available at a location a person trusted, that person could be more willing to get a shot. Something else that works is the principal of social facilitation, which is the idea that people change their behavior when being watched and judged.

One tactic that surprisingly did not work was sending messages from trusted people. People in the study were asked, “Who do you trust?” and then asked whether they’d be motivated to get a vaccine if that person said they should.

“The use of authority figures as a way to persuade people to accept vaccines actually pushed people away from vaccination,” he said.

Beyond COVID-19

ZS plans to conduct further research not only on COVID-19 vaccination but others that are available now or may be in the future. Now is the time for healthcare organizations to strategize to ensure people are on board when new vaccines become necessary and available, Braude said. Understanding what motivates people and keeps them engaged in vaccination can help the industry create appropriate messaging that make deciding to get a shot an easy one.

“This is a very exciting time for vaccines. There’s so much research around mRNA technology,” he said. “We may have vaccines against all kinds of things in the future.”

Also in this episode, Michael Bumann of sponsor Red Dot discusses how his company can help hospitals and health systems work their motor vehicle accident claims and recognize millions of dollars in revenue with no risk.


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googletag.cmd.push( function () { googletag.display( 'hfma-gpt-text6' ); } );
googletag.cmd.push( function () { googletag.display( 'hfma-gpt-text7' ); } );
googletag.cmd.push( function () { googletag.display( 'hfma-gpt-leaderboard' ); } );