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Improving COVID-19 vaccine acceptance: Including insights from human decision-making under conditions of uncertainty and human-centered design

Publication Year: 2021
Contributing Organisation: Mayo Vaccine Research Group
Authors: Caroline M. Poland, Allison K.S. Matthews, and Gregory A. Poland
Learning Themes: Global Health

In the healthcare realm, success in healthcare decision-making by patients is often founded on the HCPs ability and skill in adapting information-sharing and educational efforts to the particular needs of the patient—based on how the patient thinks, synthesizes information, and makes decisions. In a previous set of articles, one of us (CMP) outlined the major tenets of the Preferred Cognitive Style and Decision-Making Model (PCSDM), which has great value for HCPs in improving communication and success in achieving the desired goal of improving vaccine uptake . In one of these articles, we noted that ‘‘current vaccine educational efforts, particularly those developed by governmental and public health authorities, invariably adopt a unimodal fact-based, left-brain cognitive style. This reflects the preferential cognitive style used by the developers and approvers of such materials—a style that may not be favored by the intended recipients—and quite obviously not a style that has changed vaccine acceptance behavior in the population. Instead, we believe it is worthwhile to identify preferred cognitive decision-making styles at the individual and group level and adopt educational strategies and message framing specific to each style. Critical to our approach is the idea that an individual’s preferred cognitive style, emotional baseline, and subsequent behavior, are all intertwined”. The PCSDM outlines six representative and common cognitive styles that individuals employ to make decisions , in this case, decisions surrounding whether to accept or reject a COVID-19 vaccine. It is critical for HCPs to accurately determine
the preferred cognitive style of the patient, adapt this style in regard to educational efforts and conversations, and present information in a style that is within the primary and secondary preferred cognitive styles of the patient.

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