Tackling the Dual Crises of Equity and Speed in COVID-19 Vaccination
Authored by CEO and Co-Founder Stephen Ehikian
COVID-19 has continued to impact how we operate on a day-to-day basis. Many of us know someone in our network who has been directly affected by the virus or have been personally affected, and new challenges associated with the pandemic are constantly surfacing. The most recent, and arguably the most important, of these hurdles to overcome is that of vaccine distribution.
Current efforts to vaccinate every person against COVID-19 are an undertaking of unprecedented scale, required at an unprecedented pace. With target populations that span every age and socio-economic tier, public health providers are in need of new approaches to rapidly contact, process, and follow-up with hundreds of millions of patients in a fast and equitable way. We strongly believe that vaccine distribution cannot favor the well-connected and tech-savvy but must be accessible to all. The solutions Airkit provides for major brands every day are designed for faster, more effective service for every type of customer.
Today, we are announcing our support for the COVID-19 vaccination effort and our commitment to helping healthcare providers and local governments access the necessary technology for vaccinations.
Ready to Work
Airkit’s customer engagement platform delivers faster, more effective service to customers with varying tech access and knowledge, whether you’re a millennial using an app or a senior phoning into a call center. The same platform that enables enterprises, small businesses, and rapidly growing companies to connect with their customers across voice, text, and chat can now be used to handle incoming vaccination registrations or to send vital updates about vaccination efforts.
For those who have tried to schedule a vaccination, you are probably familiar with ad hoc vaccine availability, overloaded websites, and multi-hour waits on the phone. In the same way the largest companies in the world use Airkit to efficiently schedule service calls with automation, Airkit can also be leveraged to help care providers rapidly scale in order to handle an influx of vaccination requests over phone, web, or text.
Below are several key areas in which Airkit has the potential to enable more efficient vaccine distribution.
Universal Waitlisting and Proactive Outreach via All Media Outlets
Public health departments, care providers, and other organizations need to do far more than email existing patient databases or expect patients to hover over Google for vaccine slots. When 2,100 vaccination slots are taken in 8 minutes, who suffers? Perhaps unintentionally, current efforts favor the connected and tech-savvy while leaving the most vulnerable populations of seniors, the underinsured, and minorities at risk. Getting a vaccine should never be compared to the “Hunger Games.”
With Airkit, officials can offer the option for any individual to add themselves to a waitlist to receive an Airkit-powered call, text, or email when they become eligible for a local vaccination. With Airkit’s IVR and QR code solutions, officials can also run campaigns targeting vulnerable groups via print, TV, radio, and web, with easy to remember phone numbers or printed QR codes that offer simple paths to register for or schedule vaccinations.
Sharing Information to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy
Local governments and care providers must be more deliberate about education and outreach via every channel to minimize vaccine hesitancy.
Airkit is HIPAA, PCI, SOC 2, TCPA, and GDPR compliant, ensuring that governments and care providers can send and receive public or sensitive data related to healthcare securely across vital channels like voice, text, and chat.
When citizens are well-informed and well-prepared for the vaccination process, the larger vaccination efforts are far more likely to be successful.
Scheduling and Managing Appointments
As previously mentioned, one of the major challenges in current vaccination scheduling is the strain on contact centers and websites. For overwhelmed contact center teams, Airkit digital IVR self-service can quickly double agent efficiency by channeling more callers to self-service scheduling or by pre-collecting necessary information from callers while they are in the call queue. Our customers see 40% or more of callers opting for digital IVR deflection with gains in customer satisfaction.
Streamlining the Onsite Vaccination Experience
The rush for vaccines and the uncertainty of receiving one has led to multi-hour waits at sites across the country. While unpleasant for anyone, excessively long waits have a disproportionate effect on seniors and wage earners. More must be done to speed the onsite vaccination experience.
Airkit can streamline onsite appointments with digital check-ins and patient intake. By implementing Airkit’s QR codes for check-in, vaccine providers can monitor in real-time the flow rate of vaccinations at any site. This can be used to provide more accurate appointment times, estimated wait times, and better capacity management for appointments. The result is an elimination of excessive queue lengths as well as over or under scheduling.
Regarding digital intake, Airkit works with many customers on “eliminating the clipboard” initiatives. Instead of providing insurance information and waivers onsite, more patients should be able to upload information digitally from their phones or browsers before they arrive at an in-person appointment.
Following up Between Vaccination Steps
Most COVID-19 vaccines require 2 doses for 95% effectiveness. However, patient compliance with two-stage vaccines is less than 50%. Airkit has the ability to help governments and care providers increase that success rate by providing a simple way to automatically trigger patient reminders via text, call, or email.
Once the patient responds, they’ll be able to schedule boosters fast through a self-service flow.
Staying Connected after Vaccination
There’s a lot to celebrate after a person receives their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a tremendous moment. But, care providers also want to stay connected with patients in the unlikely event they need additional attention.
Airkit gives patients and providers a platform through which they can report and monitor adverse events via text or web. Patients can self-report easily, privately, and on their own schedule. Additionally, providers can create workflows to trigger a contact center follow-up and select which data is shared with other agencies to comply with privacy and local regulations. Airkit manages data exchange in a secure and compliant manner.
The Road Ahead
Coordinating coronavirus testing and vaccination for the nation is a massive challenge. Decision makers should not only look at initiatives that drive scale and efficiency but also initiatives that drive equity and universal engagement at the “last mile” in the race to vaccinate. Airkit can help you quickly reach and engage all citizens and alleviate the strain on our health care systems in the fight to end COVID.