Training Physicians in Motivational Communication to Address Influenza Vaccine Hesitation: A Proof-of-Concept Study



Vaccines 2022, 10(2), 143

Sara Labbé, Inés Colmegna, Valeria Valerio, Vincent Gosselin Boucher, Sandra Peláez, Anda I. Dragomir, Catherine Laurin, Elizabeth M. Hazel, Simon L. Bacon and Kim L. Lavoie


Background: Strategies to support health care professionals on how to address vaccine hesitancy are needed.

Methods: We developed a 4-h Motivational Communication (MC) training program tailored to help physicians address hesitancy related to influenza vaccination among patients living with rheumatoid arthritis. Five MC competencies were evaluated at baseline and post-training with a standardized patient using the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity [MITI] scale. Adherence to MC during clinical consultations and changes in vaccine intentions was measured as secondary outcomes.

Results: Seven rheumatology physicians participated in the training. MITI scores increased in all participants, and 71% (n = 5) achieved thresholds of clinical competency (i.e., ≥3.5/5 at MITI global score and ≥3/5 on at least 3 individual competency score) post-training. Autonomy/support and empathy competencies reached competency thresholds (+2.4 ± 1.3 to +4.1 ± 0.7 and +2.1 ± 0.7 to +4.1 ± 0.7, respectively). Evocation and collaboration competencies improved but without reaching competency thresholds (+1.4 ± 0.8 to +3.1 ± 1.1; +1.4 ± 0.8 to +2.9 ± 1.1, respectively). Direction did not improve. Among 21 patient consultations post-training, 15 (71%) were MC-consistent. Of the 15 patients, 67% (10/15) intended to receive the influenza vaccine and 33% (5/15) received it.

Conclusion: A brief MC training program targeting vaccine hesitancy increased MC competency among rheumatology physicians and promoted behavioral change among patients.