Can Healthcare IT and EHR Help with Vaccine Distribution?

May 20th, 2021 /
Andrew Fearnley
/ 6 Min Read

There is no doubt that Covid-19 took us all off-guard. But, thankfully, the advancements in medical technology and cloud-based software are helping vaccine distribution go smoothly around the world. 

EHR Vaccine Distribution

How does Electronic Health Records (EHRs) help manage and track the vaccination process?

According to Bob Violino, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provider Salesforce teamed up with the Vaccine Alliance, called Gavi, in December 2020, intending to provide 190 countries with vaccines by the end of December 2021. In addition, Salesforce aims to aid Gavi in managing the information needed to distribute the vaccinations equitably. Another key player involved in the vaccination process is the global alliance, COVAX, which has been working on manufacturing vaccinations for Covid-19. COVAX also supports research and development for the project. 

The essential project involves investigating data to determine areas where the population includes the less fortunate- those who might not have access to the vaccine otherwise. Additionally, with 190 different countries involved, the data pool is vast. Therefore, equitable distribution is critical, so the demographic data must be accurate. 

Organizations have been using Salesforce’s cloud services and, a compilation of apps and other (resources) to ensure their community, clients, and staff are healthy and happy. 

The platform and COVAX’s “country engagement platform” work together to manage the collected data. Through a secure portal, the countries who participate can “communicate and share information such as vaccine requirements and access reports,” says Insider Pro. The portal is vital for planning dose delivery. 

Mr.Violino says the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) now uses the National Electronic Health Records Cloud by Oracle, combined with Oracle’s Public Health Management Applications Suite, to manage:

  • Vaccine ordering
  • Shipment tracking
  • Inventory Control 
  • Communication with vaccine recipients about their potential side effects

The National Electronic Health records Database is a secure spot where public health officials can see data regarding the number of vaccinations in a given location. In addition, Insider Pro says patients can use their smartphones or other devices to reach healthcare workers who track the various effects of the virus. If there are severe effects, the app will notify a practitioner, so the patient can get help and the adverse reaction can be recorded. Since researchers used it in Covid-19 clinical trials, the system has been well-tested.

How is blockchain-based technology verifying health and vaccination status?

Blockchain technology concept
Blockchain technology

Blockchain-based technology created by combining IBM’S Digital Health Pass with tracks vaccine distribution and health-related data.

According to Mr.Violino, The Digital Health Pass uses IBM’s blockchain tech to help organizations view health credentials for staff, customers, and others visiting places through the company’s specifications. 

Specifications include:

  • Results for tests
  • Records of vaccinations
  • Temperature checks

Following vaccination, patients are given a credential through the IBM Digital Health Pass that is only available in the patient’s digital wallet. For privacy reasons, all those who receive the vaccine can share their health information securely, and their vaccines are verifiable, says Insider Pro. 

Those who need to can use Health Pass by IBM and Salesforce for vaccine verification. And, through, companies can send wellness surveys to their staff and business visitors, as well as schedule Coronavirus tests and vaccines. Lastly, Mr. Violini states that “manual contact tracing alerts” are also possible through technology.

How are Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) supporting vaccine delivery?

Artificial Intelligence supporting vaccine delivery

Public health agencies and healthcare providers use vaccine management platforms designed by Microsoft and partners for:

  • Registration
  • Phased vaccine schedules
  • Reporting
  • Dashboards for managing analytics

The platform is called the Vaccination Registration and Administration Solution (VRAS), Microsoft has aided in over 230 Covid-19 emergency response missions around the world so far. 

Some other technology is offered by Microsoft for vaccine management, including:

  • Health Level Seven (HL7)
  • Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR)
  • Open APIs

The different technologies intermingle with one another and AI to create location-specific predictive analytics and communication that’s secure. 

Also, Accenture, EY, and other partners are working together to create technologies to assist with vaccine distribution and manufacturing.

One example is the EY Vaccine Management Solution, with uses:

  • Azure
  • Power BI
  • Dynamics 365
  • Power Platform 

The combination of technologies is aiding in engagement between patient and provider, helps with supply chain visibility, and integrates the Internet of Things (IoT) for monitoring the vaccine delivery in real-time. 

How are technology tools enhancing and guarding vaccine supply chains?

Those storing Covid-19 vaccinations must keep them at specific temperatures, or they will not be viable. Thankfully, Zebra Technologies and other companies are giving healthcare establishments technology to ensure viability. Mr. Violini says, “Zebra’s Temptime technology is being used to ensure that the vaccines stay viable every step of the process- from being packaged to administration to patients.”

To ensure vaccines remain safe and effective, vial-level temperatures must be monitored throughout the supply chain. And that’s not all. 

According to IDG Insider Pro, other results from unusable vaccinations include:

  • Higher taxes
  • Longer wait-time for vaccines
  • Ineffective vaccines. 

Temp time is an established temperature sensing and monitoring group of tools. They were explicitly designed for vial-level temperature monitoring and have been helping vaccination suppliers for years. 

Additionally, IBM is helping out with supply chain management software and “an open blockchain-based approach” for recoding and authenticating temperatures.

Through a combination of AI, security tech, blockchain, and hybrid cloud, IBM can view all parts of the supply chain in real-time.

Key Takeaways

With the help of top-notch technology companies like Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM, and many others, the vaccine delivery rollout can go smoothly. As a result, providers can rest assured that the vaccines they give their patients are safe and effective. Plus, through a combination of AI, secure tech, blockchain, and hybrid cloud, stakeholders can view all parts of the supply chain in real-time. Lastly, blockchain-based technology is storing and analyzes vaccine data and providing vaccine verification. Through this verification process, you can go out again safely. 

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