The administration of COVID-19 vaccines began just days after FDA emergency-use approvals were issued. Once healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents have been inoculated, healthcare organizations will face the challenge of communicating with essential workers to coordinate vaccine screening, scheduling and administration. The cycle will continue with the next prioritized group of adults 65+ and those with high-risk medical conditions, and so on, and so on. 

Despite the fact that millions of Americans will be vaccinated in the CDC’s Phase 1 Sequence, millions more are eager to get in line. This mass vaccination effort will be a first for our healthcare system, and represents a significant opportunity for providers to build brand loyalty and deeper ties to their community. But how can these efforts be managed by a system that has been overwhelmed with rising daily COVID-19 screening volumes and inpatient units brimming with infected patients?  

Health systems are planning and developing their strategies to manage huge demand, navigate complicated logistics and quell vaccine-related concerns – but the task is still monumental. 

Communication, information and technology will be essential. Here are three ways to get started now!

Get proactive. The uncertainty that surrounds the COVID-19 vaccine is generating a lot of noise for your staff from patients: When will I get it? Is there a waiting list I can join? How do I know if it’s safe? Will you notify me as soon as I can get it? What side effects should be considered serious? How long will the vaccination protect me? Can I still spread the virus? 

Twistle is working with our current customers and internally to develop content that can address these and other potential questions. A secure digital communication platform can be used to distribute information in bite sized chunks, educate patients via downloadable fact sheets and assets, and set expectations for your patient populations. 

Leverage existing resources. In an evolving situation, don’t forget that the CDC is developing resources you can share with your patients. They also recently rolled out the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker, which is a smartphone-based tool to monitor patients after they receive a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Patient engagement specialists like Twistle can also provide expertise around best practices and clinical pathway content so you don’t have to start from scratch with vaccine communication efforts. 

Automate where possible. People cannot be replaced by technology, but automated communication solutions can increase staff productivity considerably. Set up communication pathways that can be triggered by EHR data, set thresholds for patient-reported data so that care teams are only alerted when intervention is needed, obtain vaccine consent, screen for eligibility via digital forms, support self scheduling, send reminders for the 2nd dose, and collect patient survey information. 

Nothing replaces the human touch, but technology can lessen the load for your care teams during this stressful time. Visit Twistle’s website to learn more about activating patients with digital care. Our library of clinical content and patient communication best practices can be customized for specific geographies, vaccine types, and patient segments.

Read about how one health system is using Twistle

Sandra Andrews from Providence recently spoke to NEJM Catalyst about how they are managing their vaccination efforts across 61 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics extending from Alaska, down to Orange County, across to Texas. Learn more about how they’re doing it!

We’re leveraging Twistle as that delivery engine where we’re communicating and managing, and I appreciate the bright minds at Twistle as well as Providence who have spent countless hours building this pathway and making sure we’re able to look at the solution end to end, and it’s been great. 

Sandra Andrews

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Clinical Care, Providence