COVID-19 has transformed healthcare indefinitely and forced agility from care teams at every turn. Vaccination efforts are no exception. Healthcare organizations across America are in the midst of a massive, frazzled effort to coordinate hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccinations.
As demand peaks for information around vaccine eligibility, availability, and distribution, healthcare organizations should be proactively educating patients and providers to help combat misinformation and build confidence in the vaccination process. Effective communication is critical between healthcare organizations, staff, and patients to support compliance with public health guidance.
Unfortunately, some organizations simply haven’t had the resources to plan ahead for the number of logistical variables impacting vaccine communication and coordination. We want to help by summarizing the challenges and solutions of three essential elements of vaccination coordination:
- Patient Communication
- Provider Communication
- Resource Allocation
1. Patient Communication
Challenges: Trust, Compliance, and Safety; Combatting Misinformation
To build trust and increase compliance among patients, organizations must communicate and provide real educational material to counteract misinformation such as social media myths.1 Managing expectations and helping patients assess their relative risks in context are challenges that only get harder as myths and disinformation spread online.
Solution: Rapidly Educate, Remind, Triage, and Follow Up
A 2020 population survey of US adults found that individuals were more likely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine if they thought their healthcare provider would recommend vaccination.2
Build trust and patient satisfaction by distributing educational material to patients on their most preferred communication device—their cell phone. The right patient engagement solution will offer HIPAA-compliant video, voice, and text messaging that empowers you to:
- Reach out to patients about vaccine availability and location.
- Send timely appointment updates and confirmation.
- Provide guidance on preparation, wayfinding, and check in.
- Track confirmations, cancellations, and who is running late.
- Instantly broadcast changes in supply, location, or procedure to the patient population.
- Create a triage pathway for patients who have questions, complications, or adverse effects from the vaccination.
- Provide automated reminders to support second dosage compliance. For example:
Clients are using PerfectServe’s Patient and Family Communication solution to send patients reminders of their second dose date with simple scheduling instructions.
2. Provider Communication
Challenges: New and Evolving Processes; Accommodating Patient Demand and Follow-Up Needs
Surging patient demand and shifting vaccine supply make it difficult to coordinate staff and ensure the right providers can be reached at the right time. Organizations must keep providers educated, up to date, and prepared to answer patient questions. It is also up to organizations to facilitate rapid follow-up to patient questions and concerns post-vaccination.
Solution: Dynamic Communication, Smart Routing, and Instant Updates in One App
Communication should make it easy for providers to understand the process of the vaccine rollout and answer specific technical questions.3
The same communication solution that addresses your patient needs should also support seamless coordination between clinical and operational staff in an environment of surging demand and dynamic vaccine availability. Look for a solution that lets you:
- Share educational material with staff via news bulletins.
- Update care teams about locations, procedures, and supplies.
- Instantly communicate changes to staffing and site plans across your organization.
- Facilitate real-time responses from providers to address patient issues associated with vaccine complications. For example:
One hospital has implemented an “Adverse Vaccine Reaction Hotline” that care team members can access via PerfectServe web or phone number. Three different providers rotate through the hotline service so the case load is spread evenly.
3. Resource Allocation
Challenges: Balancing Staff Distribution With Changes in Vaccine Demand and Supply
One of the most difficult and important resources to coordinate is your staff. Balancing staff vaccination with provider shift schedules to adequately support patient vaccination will be increasingly challenging. Adjusting provider schedules manually during chaotic surges in supply and demand across locations could become a nightmare.
Solution: Optimized Provider Scheduling With Real-Time Update Distribution
“A world safe from vaccine preventable diseases requires well-functioning human resources within a supportive environment.” – World Health Organization4
Automate the schedule-building process with a solution that can adapt to shifting variables—such as temporary vaccination sites and changes in vaccine supply—and update your staff in real time. An ideal scheduling solution will:
- Integrate with your communication solution.
- Provide easy access via smartphone app.
- Serve as a provider scheduling source of truth that stays up to date in real time.
- Simplify shift swaps and time-off requests for providers to help reduce burnout
- Accommodate unique needs with customization for your organization. For example:
Optimized Provider Scheduling powered by Lightning Bolt is helping organizations meet fluctuating staff needs during COVID-19 surges by automatically generating balanced schedules to include new and redeployed staff across existing and temporary locations.
Streamlining Vaccination Coordination
COVID-19 vaccination presents healthcare organizations with several challenges exacerbated by many shifting variables. Don’t leave your teams fumbling to keep up. Leading organizations are overcoming vaccine-related communication and resource challenges with comprehensive collaboration solutions that solve as many challenges as possible with one streamlined, user-friendly interface.
See how integrated solutions can support your COVID-19 vaccination coordination.
1. Effects of fact-checking social media vaccine misinformation on attitudes toward vaccines, J. Zhang et al., ScienceDirect, Preventive Medicine – Volume 145, Apr. 2021: sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091743520304394?dgcid=author
2. Acceptability of a COVID-19 vaccine among adults in the United States: How many people would get vaccinated? P. Reiter et al., Vaccine – Volume 38, Issue 42, Sep. 29, 2020: sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X20310847
3. Communicating about the COVID-19 Vaccines: Guidance and Sample Messages for Public Health Practitioners, Public Health Institute, Dec. 10, 2020: phi.org/thought-leadership/communicating-about-the-covid-19-vaccines-guidance-and-sample-messages-for-public-health-practitioners
4. Immunizations, Vaccines and Biologicals – Workforce, World Health Organization: who.int/immunization/programmes_systems/workforce/en