Population Health Management – Dealing with Vaccine Waitlists and Ensuring that Everyone Gets Vaccinated
By: Natalie Cheng
Signing up for a vaccine should be a simple process. However, people are struggling to find and sign up for COVID vaccines. This is due to a variety of factors including low or inconsistent vaccine supply, technological issues including system crashes and unfamiliarity of devices, limited resources, and more. As a vaccine administrator, how do you deal with this process and make it what it’s supposed to be: simple? Here are some issues organizations are currently facing and solutions.
Prioritizing Older and More Vulnerable Population Groups
When the COVID vaccine initially rolled out, the CDC recommended that the vaccine be administered in various phases to prioritize the older and more vulnerable population groups. With this initiative, healthcare and essential workers, the elderly, and those that have underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19 would be able to get the vaccine first. However, inconsistent or low vaccine supply has hindered efforts. In addition, issues with technology including little to no access and/or unfamiliarity have left some people without the vaccine. We discussed solutions to reach underserved communities in a previous blog post.
Multiple Vaccine Waitlists
With an inadequate number of vaccines available for the entire population, people have been scrambling to find a vaccine. Even some that qualify can’t find a vaccine or aren’t able to schedule an appointment. People must wait until more vaccine appointments are available with some sitting at their computers refreshing every few seconds waiting for the portal to open. This has caused many people to put themselves on multiple waitlists hoping to get picked for a vaccine. Because of this, people may show up in a variety of vaccine waitlists and once they finally receive the vaccine, their names are still on the other waitlists unless they contact each organization to take their name off the other waitlists, which is not as likely. As more people continue to qualify for a vaccine and as more vaccines become available, organizations will have to deal with outdated waitlists. Without a single source of truth, it is hard to easily tell who has or has not been vaccinated.
A Centralized Vaccine Database and Vaccine Management System that Integrates with Your Current Systems
A solution to the problems that healthcare and vaccine administrators are currently facing would be a centralized vaccine database and management system that could serve as the organization’s reliable source of truth for patient vaccine information. Healthcare systems that already have software for tracking and notifying employees of vaccination due dates could use a centralized vaccine that would help them quickly identify if someone has received a vaccine at another provider. Ideally, the vaccine should be able to integrate with the healthcare organization’s current systems and won’t disrupt workflows.
In addition, a vaccine management system could help healthcare organizations meet Federal, State, and local reporting requirements by integrating with these systems and decreasing the amount of redundant work. For example, a nurse that is tasked with inputting vaccine information to meet Federal reporting requirements won’t have to input the same information again for state and local reporting. The vaccine management system would be able to automatically send this information to all three (Federal, State, Local). This database would be incredibly helpful to organizations and decrease the time and effort needed to identify whether someone has been vaccinated.
In addition, a vaccine database would help organizations better identify people who have qualified for the vaccine in the initial phases and are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and can handle vaccine invites to prioritize these groups even after vaccines are open to everyone. For example, the Texas Department of State Health Services is asking providers to prioritize appointments for people who are 80+ and prioritize walk-ins from anyone in that age group who shows up without an appointment since the state is opening the vaccine to all adults on March 29. Organizations will have to be able to handle the influx of people signing up for a vaccine and ensure that people who want a vaccine and qualify can receive one.
Healthcare organizations predict that we will have 6 vaccines by the end of summer with one being potentially available to children. A vaccine that includes a registrant’s information will help organizations notify people accordingly as more vaccines become available. This can also help address cancelled appointments or no shows. By having a comprehensive list of vaccine registrants, a vaccine administrator can filter through the information and resend invitation to those that haven’t received a vaccine yet. It can also help with identifying those that need a dose or booster dose. The system can then report to the state/fed and be able to receive additional vaccines.
Are you looking for a solution to help manage your vaccines and waitlist? Please reach out to us and we can help guide you through the process.