As healthcare organizations take on the extensive task of vaccinating the entire U.S. population, digital health companies are leveraging their expertise to assist along the way. Two of them, Notable Health and Zocdoc, have recently expanded their platforms to help ease the administrative burdens of mass inoculation.
Notable’s automated healthcare platform now supports COVID-19 vaccine administration workflows. The platform identifies patients who are eligible for the vaccine, helps them schedule an appointment and sends reminders for their second dose, all while sharing data to the provider’s EHR to help them keep track of their vaccinated patients.
Using machine learning, the Notable vaccine tool scans electronic health records for unvaccinated individuals that meet federal and state eligibility, initiates a digital pre-visit screening, collects informed consent, and schedules necessary follow-up appointments.
The platform can be customized for each health system where it’s deployed in four weeks, the company said in its announcement, enabling a more rapid administration of vaccines to patient populations.
The medical booking platform Zocdoc also released a healthcare tool for COVID-19 vaccine administration, called the Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler.
Within the scheduler, organizations can screen individuals for eligibility, and, once confirmed, patients gain access to the appointment booking page. From there, they can select their preferred vaccine appointment site, date and time. The platform also prompts patients to book their second-dose appointment at the same time to make sure they get it at the right time.
The Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler is available at no charge for any large care organization, whether it's an existing user or not, Zocdoc said in its announcement. It's already been launched at Mount Sinai and has been used to schedule more than 100,000 vaccine appointments for its frontline healthcare employees and for eligible patients in New York’s vaccine distribution plan.
WHY THIS MATTERS
So far, the U.S. has distributed more than 31 million doses to states and more than 15 million doses have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rollout has been criticized for being too slow after Operation Warp Speed failed to meet its goal of having 20 million doses administered by the start of the new year.
What's to blame for the slower-than-expected rollout is up for debate: the obstacles of executing this unprecedented vaccination plan, a limited supply of shots or the fact that hospitals are already overwhelmed in taking care of COVID-19 patients. Regardless, solutions such as these from Notable and Zocdoc could help.
THE LARGER TREND
Zocdoc made headlines last fall after Cyrus Massoumi, the cofounder and former CEO and chairman, filed a lawsuit alleging that his fellow cofounders and the company's CFO conspired to remove him from the company through "an elaborate series of lies and deceptions."
The company hit back with a legal motion to dismiss Massoumi's suit and a blog post that attempted to refute his critiques of their financial performance and strategy. Since then, the suit was dismissed by the New York State Supreme Court on the basis that the claims must be filed in Delaware, as stated in the company's bylaws. Massoumi intends to appeal the ruling, according to his team.
Using technology to help fight COVID-19 has been a theme of the pandemic, and it continues to be for vaccine distribution.
Well.Me has come out with a vaccine track-and-trace solution that allows for symptom monitoring and creates a database for employers to keep track of vaccinated staff members.
Google is combating vaccine misinformation by providing users in the U.K. with a search feature for COVID-19 vaccine information, building the fact-checking COVID-19 Vaccine Media Hub and allowing the search engine to remove any information that contradicts the CDC or WHO guidelines.
ON THE RECORD
"There has never been a vaccination effort as accelerated or complex as this one,” said Dr. Muthu Alagappan, the medical director at Notable Health, in a statement. “Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is high but supply is limited, so precise health risk assessment will remain key to a successful rollout.
"Configurable technology solutions such as Notable can help providers automate and streamline complex workflows like vaccine administration, especially as supply begins to catch up with demand. ... Intelligent automation can enable health systems to effectively support their communities, especially in the coming months as each state's unique needs evolve.
"Since the start of the pandemic, we have been focused on contributing to public health efforts where we are uniquely positioned to help," said Dr. Oliver Kharraz, the Zocdoc founder and CEO, in a statement. "With Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler, we can support America's vaccine rollout by doing what we do best – using technology to simplify the healthcare experience so care organizations can focus on what they do best, taking care of patients. We are proud to be able to offer our technology, free-of-charge, to help streamline and accelerate our country's vaccination program."