With the help of healthcare organizations, the U.S. government has managed to hit a major milestone in its vaccine rollout, administering 200 million vaccine shots[¹] in Biden’s first 100 days in office. However, as the next phase of the rollout kicks off and a large proportion of working-age adults try to book their vaccine, healthcare organizations will be under pressure to meet the demand for a rapid rollout while catering to far more complex scheduling needs.
To continue vaccinating the population at lightning speed, healthcare organizations could benefit massively from implementing an online reservation solution. Not only is this recommended[²] by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it can also help your organization run more smoothly, and promote better satisfaction and trust in your patient population.
Here are five ways an online reservation solution can improve your vaccination drive.
Ensure convenience for patients
With all those over 16 years of age now eligible for a vaccine[³] in the U.S – and, in many states, 12-15 year olds as well – many of the patients trying to book an appointment will be working-age adults or the parents of schoolchildren. This makes convenience and flexibility essential.
To offer these patients full transparency about available appointments, an online reservation solution shows patients all free time slots at a glance, so they can pick a time that best suits them and minimize time off work or school.
Another convenience factor that an online reservation solution provides is the booking process itself: rather than having to rely on office opening hours and phone calls, the patient simply has to find a few minutes in the day to go online and book their vaccination. These convenience factors have been shown to have a major impact on patient satisfaction and choice of provider[⁴], and could also impact the speed with which they schedule their COVID vaccinations.
Avoid missed appointments
Even in ordinary times, healthcare providers can struggle to cater to patient demand – but with a large-scale project like the COVID vaccination drive, the need to use all available appointments becomes imperative.
To ensure these valuable time-slots aren’t wasted, automated text messaging or push notifications can remind patients where they need to be and when in the run-up to their appointment. These notifications can also contain links for canceling or rescheduling appointments via the online reservation solution if they’re no longer suitable for the patient.
Offering reminders and increased flexibility can help to drastically reduce the number of missed appointments and greatly increase the efficiency of the vaccine roll-out.
In a recent poll, around 60% of American adults said they were keen to get vaccinated[⁵]. With such a large number of people to innoculate, it can help to be transparent about forecasted waiting times. You can set expectations for when your patients could receive their first vaccine dose by publishing wait times from your online reservation solution on the website, so patients know exactly how long they’ll be waiting for their first dose.
Make the best use of your facilities
If your healthcare organization operates multiple facilities, your online reservation solution can direct patients to vaccination centers with greater availability. Patients are likely to welcome the chance to get their COVID-19 vaccinations sooner, even if this means going to a different practice from the one they normally go to or visiting one slightly further away.
By funneling patients to practices with more availability, you can keep waiting times down, even out imbalances and get the best use of all your facilities and resources.
Build trust with your patients
The success of the vaccination drive is highly dependent on trust. With one in four U.S. citizens still on the fence about vaccines[⁶], ensuring that patients know as much as possible about what to expect when they get a vaccine, and are given a seamless scheduling experience, could make all the difference.
Patient appointment scheduling software and automated patient education communications may seem like minor additions to your service and the care you provide, but they could be decisive in helping those who are still unsure about getting vaccinated overcome their misgivings – particularly since around half of vaccine-hesitant patients say they are concerned about vaccine safety[⁷].
With the Biden administration continuing to set highly ambitious targets for the vaccine roll-out, now is the time for healthcare organizations to look at the efficiency of their scheduling and intake process.
Learn how PatientTrak’s COVID-19 online reservation solution can help expedite your vaccination program.
- The White House. (2021). Remarks by President Biden on the COVID-19 Response and the State of Vaccinations. [online] The White House Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/04/21/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-covid-19-response-and-the-state-of-vaccinations-2/
- CDC (2020). COVID-19 Vaccination. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/How-Do-I-Get-a-COVID-19-Vaccine.html
- Kaia Hubbard (2021). Who Is Eligible for a COVID-19 Vaccine in Your State? [online] US News & World Report. Available at: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/covid-19-vaccine-eligibility-by-state
- Accenture 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey. [online] accenture.com. Available at: https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/pdf-94/accenture-2019-digital-health-consumer-survey.pdf
- Edwards-Levy, A. (2021). More And More Americans Say They’ll Get Vaccinated — But It’s Still Unclear Just How Many Will. [online] FiveThirtyEight. Available at: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/more-and-more-americans-say-theyll-get-vaccinated-but-its-still-unclear-just-how-many-will/
- Mar 09, S.S. | N.R. | C.N. | and 2021 (2021). Poll: 1 of 4 Americans will refuse COVID-19 vaccine. [online] CIDRAP. Available at: https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/03/poll-1-4-americans-will-refuse-covid-19-vaccine
- UPMC | Life Changing Medicine. (2021). COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Driven by Safety, Trust Concerns. [online] UPMC | Life Changing Medicine. Available at: https://www.upmc.com/media/news/042821-king-covid-vax-hesitancy-medrxiv