The Benefits of Vaccine Scheduling Software
As the world continues to deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, public and private healthcare providers are faced with the challenge of administering vaccines. The speed and scale at which these vaccinations must be distributed, scheduled, and administered is much greater than we’ve ever before seen on a global level.
Getting COVID-19 vaccines to the public is becoming increasingly complex as the vaccine becomes more readily available, with healthcare providers often scheduling single or multi-site vaccinations for high volumes of clients. In order to efficiently, effectively, and safely administer these vaccines, providers need powerful technologies in place.
What is Vaccine Scheduling Software?
Vaccine scheduling software is a highly configurable booking and appointment management system that’s centralized for easy usability, both for clients and providers. It’s a robust tool that helps providers manage the demand from individuals coming in to receive vaccines, the supply of available doses, and the capacity of their own staff to administer vaccines.
Modern vaccine scheduling software can handle concurrent scheduling and is flexible enough to handle high-volume bookings, so healthcare organizations can operate as efficiently as possible as they serve their communities.
See Skedulo's high capacity scheduling in action today
The Pitfalls of Using the Wrong Software to Schedule Vaccines
Many healthcare providers have already begun to use different types of software to manage vaccine administration and appointment scheduling. But not all appointment booking software is created equal, and providers are quickly realizing that the tools they’ve successfully used in the past—like event management software, school nurse software, or even homegrown software—just can’t cut it for high-capacity vaccine administration.
These technologies hinder the ability to effectively manage vaccinations in higher volume, and lead to many other challenges, too:
- Slow timeline for implementation of a system – As the world looks to re-open in the wake of the pandemic, time-to-implementation of a system that can handle high volumes of bookings is crucial. But software that’s not already built for this specific purpose takes many months to get up and running, causing unnecessary delays in vaccine administration.
- Unreliable systems that can’t handle high-capacity bookings – Providers who look to scheduling tools that don’t offer secure appointment processing at a mass scale will likely run into issues of reliability. As thousands of people try to book appointments through online tools, failure of those systems (due to their inability to handle large capacity) has undermined vaccination efforts in some circumstances.
- Software that’s not user friendly – It’s not just millennials and Gen-Z’ers who need quick and easy access to vaccine appointment bookings: Elderly groups must be able to navigate the appointment booking system and use on-site tools, if necessary, to ensure a seamless vaccination process. Solutions that require too many clicks for the end-user or aren’t available on both desktop and mobile could hinder the public’s ability to confidently and effectively schedule their vaccine receival.
- Systems that aren’t updated in real time – If clients can’t schedule their vaccination appointments based on real-time availability of doses, they may receive a booking confirmation and show up for administration only to be turned away. On the other end, providers won’t have the visibility to understand and manage the capacity of individuals coming in, nor regulate the number of appointments booked at a given location.
- Inability to collect patient data – Many state municipalities, counties, and pharmacies (in the US for example) must capture and report information about individuals receiving vaccinations to the FDA or CDC. This is an incredibly time-consuming, complex feat if they’re not using tools that automatically collect this data as clients book and receive their doses.
- Inaccurate appointment booking/inability to book based on actual resources – Some providers are managing and scheduling vaccination appointments in more than one location, which proves difficult in terms of tracking availability of doses, resources, and appointments. If you only have a certain number of staff members and vaccine doses, but your appointment booking software doesn’t accurately reflect those details at any given moment, you’re at risk for overbooking individuals and having to turn them away.
- Lack of interoperability with existing systems – If your vaccine scheduling software doesn’t integrate with your other tools (e.g. inventory management, logistics, and supply chain systems), it’s nearly impossible for your team to have a clear view of resources and capacity. This becomes even more complicated if you have multiple vaccination locations, perhaps with caregivers and staff who need to be scheduled for shifts at each depending on available doses, equipment, and other crucial details.
The Benefits of Intelligent Vaccine Scheduling Software
Vaccine scheduling software that’s built for high-capacity appointment booking and management eliminates the guesswork from the equation. Proven software capabilities help healthcare providers ensure an efficient vaccination process, along with some other key benefits:
Provides an easy-to-use interface
Your vaccine scheduling solution should enable providers and patients to easily book appointments for administration, both on web and mobile. Intelligent tools built for this purpose allow individuals to input basic information into a user-friendly app, which will then automatically determine that person’s eligibility and best location for administration based on those details.
Some tools can even be easily configured to send users an email and/or text message with the day, time slot, and other confirmation details of their appointment, as well as a reminder when the time comes.
An intelligent vaccine scheduling software that’s designed for every user group requires just a few clicks and short fields for appointment bookings, and provides peace of mind that they’ve successfully scheduled the vaccination. Users can confidently show up for their vaccine administration knowing they’ll receive the dose they’ve signed up for, as the tools can send multiple booking confirmations and can easily add the appointment to a third-party calendar.
Offers easy setup, management, and administration
Public health officials and economic planners continue their mission to re-open our world safely, with their key focus on maintaining social distancing, avoiding massive crowds, and offering vaccines to as many people as possible. But in order to return to some sense of ‘normalcy’ in the coming months, these initiatives will require the support of tools that can get up and running quickly.
Vaccine scheduling software that’s capable of tracking available appointments and resources, is flexible enough to edit that availability based on real-time information, and can be easily configured to fit provider and client needs shouldn’t take months to implement. Modern tools should offer seamless setup without extensive coding or a lengthy timeline.
In a matter of weeks, providers can begin using a high-capacity solution that can easily be changed as unforeseen challenges arise. For example, they may need to set up a new vaccination location or adjust their operating hours for one or more administration sites. Perhaps they realize that the average time it takes to administer each vaccine is longer than expected. A robust vaccine scheduling solution should make it a breeze to edit the length of appointment slots to reflect this finding and give staff members the time they need to serve each client.
Enables communication between providers and patients
As healthcare professionals and clients adapt to the ways in which receiving healthcare services has evolved throughout the pandemic, it only makes sense that a vaccine scheduling solution should enable streamlined, virtual communication between the two parties.
Powerful vaccine scheduling software can be easily configured to send emails and text messages to those receiving their vaccinations, so they’re always armed with the necessary information. Providers are confident that their clients are up-to-date and ready for administration, while individuals can rest easy knowing they have all the right information about their vaccination site, appointment time, what to expect, and even a QR code that allows them to safely check in once they arrive.
Collects data from individuals who receive vaccines
A key aspect of administering any vaccine is collecting relevant information so that public health officials and organizations can remain in-the-know and work proactively to ensure safety. The data surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations—i.e. personal data, data about vaccination sites, demographics, etc.—must be accurate and, perhaps more importantly, secure.
An intelligence vaccine booking software solution can capture data for groups like states, counties, and municipalities who need to share such information with other groups (such as the CDC and FDA) and do so safely and securely. This data collection is automatic, so already-busy care providers and staff don’t need to waste precious time manually recording, managing, and sharing essential details.
Ensures a reliable platform for booking vaccines
At the core of intelligent vaccine scheduling software is reliable functionality that enables providers to schedule and manage high-capacity bookings without crashing or slowing down operations. Never before have we seen vaccination initiatives on such a massive, global scale, and that high volume requires a reliable system for success.
With modern tools that have been developed for this exact purpose, the public has a place where they can easily book vaccination appointments based on real-time availability. Instead of worrying about whether or not their scheduling system accurately reflects resource capacity and availability, providers can focus on essential tasks, like ensuring a great care experience for individuals looking to be vaccinated.
Ensures eligibility based on validation rules
Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine differs between each country, state, and territory. It can be difficult for the general public to understand and keep track of whether or not they’re eligible for administration in their location.
Powerful vaccine scheduling software offers an easy-to-use interface that requires users to input key information like age, location, and other criteria. Based on those details, the system can determine eligibility of the individual and enable them to register for their vaccination if they meet certain predefined requirements.
This straightforward process means that those who are not yet eligible aren’t met with the frustration of registering and scheduling for a vaccination appointment, only to show up to their booking and realize they cannot actually receive the vaccine. Care providers are confident that the individuals scheduled for vaccinations at each location meet the necessary requirements, and thus availability and capacity are accurately reflected in the system at any given time.
Safely checks in individuals as they arrive
It’s crucial that individuals continue to adhere to the social distancing protocol recommended by public health officials, even as the vaccine becomes more readily available. And with so many people across the globe looking to schedule and receive their vaccines, it’s essential that vaccination administration processes ensure safety for both recipients and providers.
Modern vaccine scheduling software offers contactless, socially-distanced check-in through QR and confirmation codes that are sent directly to the individual’s mobile device or email. Staff members can then scan the QR code for quick, contact-free check-in, which eliminates the need for manual paperwork.
These tools are also capable of notifying staff members if a person is too early (or too late) for their appointment when they scan their code, which helps keep crowding at bay.
Handles concurrent scheduling
Scheduling vaccines for such a large-scale number of people must be flexible, it’s inevitable that some recipients will cancel their appointments or simply not show up. Intelligent vaccine scheduling systems can easily handle these last minute changes and still accurately reflect capacity.
Because, in many areas, there are often thousands (or hundred of thousands) of people booking vaccination appointments at the same time, it’s hugely beneficial for providers to use a system that can handle both high-volume bookings and real-time changes.
Helps providers understand and manage capacity
To ensure on-site safety and efficient operations, providers must be able to regulate capacity based on appointments booked. Vaccine scheduling software enables them to do just that, as real-time updates help providers understand how many doses they’ll need at any given time and location based on bookings.
What to Look for in a Vaccine Scheduling Software
Understanding just how essential vaccine scheduling software is for effective management and administration is only half the battle. You’ll also need to know what to look for as you evaluate your solution options. Here are some must-have features of a successful tool:
As companies seek out solutions that enable more effective vaccine distribution, management, and administration, we’re seeing new systems arise that promise such benefits. However, most of these solutions simply don’t have a proven track record, nor can they handle booking at such high capacity.
These systems, in some cases, have even failed during the pandemic, as their development was rushed and their capabilities limited. As a result, individuals who were not actually eligible for the vaccine were able to book appointments, delaying scheduling for validated groups.
A strong vaccine scheduling system should be built specifically for handling this use case, with tried-and-tested capabilities that can handle high-volume bookings, validation rules, concurrent scheduling, and more.
When evaluating vaccine scheduling solutions, make sure the software provider you land on works actively with other key partners who work directly with vaccine providers. This will ensure an end-to-end solution that covers the entire vaccine administration process, reducing or eliminating the efficiencies that threaten your success.
For some vaccine scheduling software providers, it could take months to stand up a highly capable, end-to-end solution. But healthcare providers (and the public) don’t have that kind of time during a pandemic.
The software you choose should already be built to handle high volumes of bookings for vaccine initiatives on a global scale, both right now and moving forward.
With myriad people booking their vaccination appointments at the same time, your scheduling software should be able to handle the unavoidable, real-time changes that accompany such a large scale. Be sure that you implement a vaccine scheduling solution that is flexible enough to handle concurrent bookings (and reflect resulting capacity) across multiple locations without crashing.
As you look for the right vaccine scheduling software for your needs, keep in mind that you’ll need it to connect to systems that are already in place. If not, you’re at risk for creating workflow bottlenecks, data silos, and operational inefficiencies.
Instead, check that the solution you’re considering offers open APIs to support the other technologies you need, with a powerful scheduling system that can be easily integrated.
Vaccine scheduling software doesn’t provide any benefits at all if providers and individuals can’t easily use it. Make sure the solution you choose offers a seamless interface on both web and mobile, and is designed to be used by people in every age group.
Vaccine Scheduling Software for Today and the Future
Managing high-capacity vaccine scheduling requires intelligent, proven tools that ensure efficiency, safety, usabiility, and more. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of having a reliable system in place for global vaccination initiatives, both for what the world is facing today and for the future.
Skedulo offers powerful vaccine scheduling software that is proven effective for public health initiatives, with easily-configured capabilities for successful, large-scale vaccination efforts.