Covid 19 pop-up vaccination sites in convention centers, malls and stadiums are using digital business technology to address the looming increase in vaccinations as more Americans become eligible, health and information technology officials said.
Key tools include cloud computing and cloud-based management software platforms, as well as robust networking and connectivity for seamless access to patient admission, identification and eligibility data, as well as same-day health assessment data and immunization records.
These and other digital capabilities must work seamlessly between temporary workstations – where incoming patients are seen – and tablets, laptops and printers throughout the healthcare facility.
These are really huge networks, says Jim Sullivan, CEO of software development company NWN Corp, whose cloud-based communications, contact center and systems management software is used by many mass transit sites in the United States.
Sullivan explains that in these facilities, everything runs on a large network provided by the company or by local telecommunications services, and that this network must be secure and scalable. Using the power and bandwidth of cloud computers instead of the hospital’s data center provides the flexibility to scale up operations quickly, he added.
You’re mobilizing a whole set of systems that need to work, Sullivan said.
Registered nurse Valerie Massaro (L) and pharmacist Colleen Tiwan walk through a computer terminal before administering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to people from Hartford HealthCare for the second time in January at the Hartford Convention Center in Hartford, Conn.
Joseph Prezizo/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Dr. James Cardon, head of clinical integration at Hartford HealthCare Corp. a network of hospitals, clinics and other health care providers in Connecticut, says it’s the corporate IT that makes the lines work in the sprawling mega-vaccine facilities.
Hartford operates seven mass vaccination centers across the state. The largest is in the 140,000-square-foot Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, which was opened by the physician group in late December.
Dr. Cardon defines a megavaccination site as a facility with at least 10 vaccination stations and the capacity to hold about 1,000 doses per day, although many Hartford facilities have already exceeded that volume, he said.
Hartford estimated the amount of outreach needed last year based on the size of the population and the steps planned for vaccine introduction. We have excess capacity to grow, Dr. Cardon said. His goal for each location is to get the vaccines into people’s hands within a week of receiving a batch of vaccine doses. Collaboration with IT is absolutely essential, he added.
Alerts and web browsing tools to help you schedule your Covid 19 vaccination appointment. Joanna Stern of the WSJ spoke with Kris Slevens, an IT professional who has booked more than 300 appointments for seniors in New Jersey, to find out the best tips for attending the Hunger Games with vaccination reservations. Illustration photo: Emil Landof for The Wall Street Journal.
In areas without reliable Internet coverage, the group’s IT team created a connectivity center with a cellular router, a strategy developed to run a van that delivers mammograms to residents in low-income areas, said Steve Kosciuk, a Hartford-based network engineer. He calls this strategy a network in a box.
To expedite the process beyond vaccination centers, Hartford last week began notifying eligible patients by text and email when vaccination appointments are available, to avoid the often frustrating process of making an appointment online.
President Biden urged states to require all adults to have birth certificates by January 1. May to qualify for the vaccine. More than 100 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the United States, with more than 2 million doses per day by mid-March.
The White House announced this month that it plans to perform 100 million additional vaccinations with Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 single-use vaccine and has contracted for 600 million doses of the vaccine.
Shafiq Rab, chief digital officer and chief information officer of Wellforce Medical Group Inc. in Burlington, Massachusetts, says some problems at mega-sites, including programming errors and data breaches, result from monolithic, outdated healthcare technology that doesn’t work well with external systems.
Rab, a former technical adviser to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said limited access to a patient’s complete medical history – which is often included in these older systems – could increase the risk of vaccinating people with comorbidities such as allergies or heart disease.
When the pandemic broke out, many public health officials quickly discovered that the basic IT infrastructure they needed was not available or did not have the capacity to handle the expected volume, Rab said.
Supplier of business software
A vaccine administration management tool developed in the past five months is being used in vaccination centers that can administer more than 20 million vaccines worldwide, said Mike Luessi, CEO of the health and life sciences company.
This is the biggest challenge of our lives, Bauer said. Lassie. But whether it’s within the four walls of a hospital or a stadium, it’s the same process, he said.
Email Angus Lauten at [email protected].
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