4 Ways Health Systems are Approaching COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Health System for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

As hospitals and health systems continue the battle against COVID-19, shipments of vaccine are arriving to protect the highest-risk employees. As more doses become available in the weeks ahead, initiatives will ramp up in an effort to deploy the vaccine to millions of Americans.

HealthLeaders has been talking to health system representatives about their deployment strategies as well as innovative technologies they are using to coordinate this complex process. As the healthcare industry marshals its resources in this final push to quell the pandemic, the ideas and insights they share could help other organizations accelerate their initiatives.

We share four stories that examine how health systems are prioritizing recipients, how doses are being allocated among facilities within an organization, the role IT is playing, and novel technology to support these strategies. Here’s a recap of approaches taken by LifeBridge Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Ochsner Health, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health.

Lifebridge Uses COVID-19 Vaccine App to Manage Complex Scheduling And Communications Processes

Seeking an effective way for COVID-19 vaccine scheduling, patient communications, and side effect reporting? There’s an app for that.

Baltimore-based multi-hospital system LifeBridge Health shares how it’s using a digital patient engagement technology developed by GetWellNetwork. The tool offers a method to relieve overburdened workers and boost compliance rates among vaccine recipients. The app works on flip phones, smartphones, and computers.

The COVID Vaccine Loop was specifically designed for use with COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, SE and Moderna. It automates scheduling, education, and side effect reporting, while issuing reminders about the need for a second dose and continuing to engage in protective measures. In other uses of the same technology, LifeBridge has found it to be effective in crossing the digital divide.

“Don’t let pre-existing biases about who uses information technology prevent you from at least test-driving mobile phone engagement solutions,” says Daniel Durand, MD, chief innovation officer and chair of radiology. Read all about it in our innovation coverage.

Anatomy of Its Role in Intermountain’s Covid-19 Vaccine Administration

There’s a quiet champion behind the scenes of vaccine distribution at hospitals and health system across the country. IT departments are playing a pivotal role, ensuring that the complex processes involved in scheduling, prioritizing recipients, distribution, and patient engagement go smoothly.

Intermountain Healthcare CIO and Vice President Ryan Smith, MBA, shares a look behind the scenes at the nonprofit 24-hospital Salt Lake City-based healthcare system, and the actions his IT department is taking.

“We have a massive, innovative, digital-disruptive opportunity here,” says Smith. “My recommendation for CEOs and other healthcare organizations is to embrace your IT organizations. Expect them to turn around [vaccine administration] solutions quickly and leverage their creative thinking [in the same way we] scaled virtual visits in the last 10 months and [implemented solutions] to meet testing needs. Technology is a huge foundational component of making that all possible.”

Ochsner Reveals COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out Strategy

When it came time to deploy the COVID-19 vaccine, the experience Ochsner Health had during the clinical trial phase paid off.

“We were involved in the adult and children’s Pfizer vaccine trial,” says the New-Orleans-based health system’s Leonard Seoane, MD, senior vice president and chief academic officer. “That has helped us be familiar with receiving the vaccine, keeping it cold, and being able to distribute it,” adds Seoane, who is also a pulmonary and critical care physician.

Ochsner offers a glimpse into how its multi-hospital system organized its approach. Strategy Editor Melanie Blackman reports the details.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Shares Plans to Distribute Coronavirus Vaccine

How do you prioritize vaccine distribution among recipients? Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health shares the ways the Lebanon, New Hampshire-based health system is determining which individuals will receive the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as how supplies will be allocated among the organization’s facilities.

“The allocation criteria consider a few things,” says Michael Calderwood, MD, MPH, associate chief quality officer at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and an associate professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. “We are looking at the risk of an individual acquiring infection and the risk to that individual if they were to become infected having severe illness or death. We are also looking at the societal impact and looking at who is most likely to transmit coronavirus to others.”

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