The Covid-19 pandemic just won’t go away. After over 14 months of havoc, it seems like we’re witnessing the darkest days of the pandemic yet. The number of cases, hospitalizations, and lives lost currently at the highest since the pandemic started, makes it a necessity to examine the Covid-19 Vaccine Management challenges and solutions to ensure astute decision making in terms of production and distribution.
This actually bore fruits. We finally have safe and effective vaccines rolling out to help lower the spread of the disease and build protection from the virus
The first phase of vaccination has begun in a few countries, with Israel currently leading the way (about 25 of the Israeli population has been vaccinated). However, large-scale distribution of the vaccines isn’t expected until spring 2021. Organizations developing the vaccines have assured the world that they’ll have enough vaccine doses for one-third of the global population by the end of 2021.
The kickoff of the vaccine rollout, however, comes with its complexities. The role of federal, state, and local government, managing consumer demand, communication, and earning public trust, for instance, are issues that instantly stick out. Below, we discuss the four main challenges and explore potential solutions.
Let’s begin with perhaps the most crucial part of any mass vaccination campaign – getting consumer buy-in. A mass vaccination program can only be successful if the target population knows why, when, and how to get involved. Therefore, stakeholders need to acquire the tools and develop the methodologies to reach out to the masses and advocate for the vaccines.
For instance, in a recent study, only 58% of polled Americans said they’d take a covid-19 vaccine. The figure drops to 48% among non-white adults. Leaders within and outside the healthcare industry must develop a strategy around educating the public on the availability, importance, safety, and effectiveness of the vaccine shots.
Solution: The good news is that many players and stepping to the plate and offering solutions to this challenge. Cerner, through the HealtheLife portal, gives patients access to their vaccination records and has built capabilities into the portal to communicate with patients. IVM is another organization that has developed the tools to support social mobilization to transform public perceptions and attitudes.
A second challenge the vaccine rollout will face is managing consumer demand. Everyone prepared for vaccination is currently asking, “how can I get the vaccine” and “when should the vaccines get to me?” Healthcare providers and other stakeholders, including governments, need to find a way to manage the distribution without leaving at-risk populations exposed or creating the perception of discrimination.
Additionally, the distribution must happen safely, without exposing recipients and staff to risks. Managing appointments for the first and second injection is also essential. Traditional treatment management systems, such as scheduling over the phone, paper-based appointments, and unscheduled walk-in models, cannot handle this type of operation.
Solution: The complexity of the challenges in this area calls for digital scheduling. To distribute the Covid-19 vaccine successfully while minimizing administrative burden and giving patients autonomy and control, vaccine providers must consider digital scheduling. PELITAS is one of the organizations providing digital scheduling solutions across multiple providers and EHRs through deep integration.
All the major Covid-19 vaccines, including Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines, require at least two shots administered 3-4 weeks apart. Healthcare facilities need to find drug management systems that can help providers establish workflows to account for these multiple doses, patient scheduling, quick on-site registrations, screening, consent, and the administration of vaccine shots in non-traditional settings like parking lots.
In recent years, the U.S. Department of Defense has adopted the Cerner Revenue Cycle Management solution to streamline patient scheduling and registration for mass vaccination programs and document appointments and follow-ups.
Solution: Providers should look to solutions similar to the above-mentioned Cerner Revenue Cycle Management system. The technology has worked for seasonal flu vaccinations. The Cerner Mass Vaccination (Mass Vacc.) solution is another option.
When everything is said and done, there will be a need for reports and analytics to determine the success of the vaccination drive and improvement areas. Among other things, healthcare organizations are required to collect data on things like who has been vaccinated, second dose- follow-ups, wasted doses, adverse reactions, and supply levels.
These data points must be documented and reported to immunization registries and public health agencies.
Solution: Several Electronic Health Record programs allow providers to capture critical codes and discrete data elements on vaccination for seamless analytics and reporting. Customer management platforms (CRMs) such as Salesforce are other tools healthcare organizations and stakeholders should consider.
The Covid-19 vaccination campaign rollout is much-welcome news amid the growing cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. But, the vaccine rollout, too, must be done in an organized, safe manner to come out of this situation better rather than worse. Addressing inherent advocacy, demand, distribution, and reporting challenges can take us closer to success when considering the Covid-19 Vaccine Management challenges and solutions.