Best Practices for Digitizing Vaccine Management and Distribution

The scale and urgency of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has challenged public health departments to quickly onboard providers to be able to match demand. Hospitals, elderly care facilities and clinics all must rapidly develop processes to gain patient consent, verify eligibility, manage vaccine supply and capture vaccination records to the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system.

This is no small effort that comes with many challenges. According to McKinsey & Company, hundreds of organizations play a role in the vaccine deployment, and are rapidly adapting their operations to meet demands for volume, speed and better technology.

Public and private healthcare organizations can quickly deploy solutions to support vaccine management that are secure, privacy-compliant, and paperless. Public health departments, hospitals and clinics can speed up and scale up the vaccine administration process by automating forms and workflows around onboarding providers, digitizing patient consents and streamlining immunization records requests.

Digitize Provider Onboarding for Vaccinations

Before participating in a vaccination program, clinics need to complete a number of Pandemic Provider Onboarding forms so they can order and administer vaccines. These include the verification of signatory provider information, proof of refrigeration capabilities, as well as the signed and completed CDC agreements that need to be signed by the CEO and Chief Medical Officer of a participating organization and the Medical Director of every vaccination site.

A single organization can have dozens of participating sites with multiple individuals that need to sign, and it can be a paperwork hassle to bring on new clinics. Bringing signatures, approvals, and workflow processes around complex documents into the cloud makes it easier for both patients and provincial health departments to speed up agreements and paperwork processes. 

Streamline Patient Consent 

Digitizing the patient consent process is an imperative for providers to increase velocity of administering vaccines. In a normal healthcare environment, there are a wide range of processes and cumbersome data management efforts through electronic health records (EHR) that already bog down many caregivers. The vaccine rollout has the potential to further compound these issues – especially when it comes to managing patient consent forms. 

The ability to gain consent digitally reduces time staff spend with patients gathering documentation, which improves wait times and staff safety. A digital consent and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) fact sheet furnishes providers with a full audit trail of documents proving receipt of the EUA fact sheet and streamlines the processes to get the documents securely uploaded into the EHR or regional Immunization Information System (IIS).

Instead of handing a patient a clipboard with consent forms and documentation when they arrive for their appointment, patients can access and sign their paperwork on their personal device prior to their appointment with eSignature, for a fast, safe, touchless experience.  Information is digitally captured and can be seamlessly imported into the provider’s system of record. Many care facilities are now rapidly setting up mass vaccination sites for serving larger patient communities.

For example, Hospice Savannah used Docusign to set up electronic entry and documentation of the patients’ informed consent. The overall vaccination system included obtaining supplies and equipment and enough staff to run the program. As a result of this effort, patients were able to use their cell phones or tablets to submit their necessary vaccination documents. In addition, all vaccination documentation was automatically transmitted to the Department of Health.

Digitally Verify Identity

While the issue of vaccine line jumping will recede once the supply of vaccines reaches a critical threshold, clinics are now dealing with this challenge which highlights inequities in vaccine distribution. 

To help combat this potentially fraudulent issue, the ministries of health and caregivers can securely verify patients’ identities prior to accessing the patient consent and other forms – prior to vaccination. Rather than having a person fax a copy of their driver’s license to prove their identity, provincial registries can use Docusign Identify to verify identities in real time through remote ID verification, knowledge-based authentication, or other customized ways.

Verify Vaccination Status

Over time, vaccine verification forms may be required for returning to offices, attending universities and beyond. As of now, those who receive vaccinations get a handwritten CDC card and can sign up for a text message with a link to the same information as the paper card. The paper CDC vaccine verification cards date back to the 1880s when they were first used to help children get back to school after a smallpox outbreak. The current verification cards only offer basic, handwritten information about the type of vaccine used, and the date of administration. In addition, the current process for requesting official vaccination records is very cumbersome in many locations. It is often a manual process involving PDF forms and providing proof of identification by requesting printed and scanned copies of drivers’ licenses. 

Instead of relying on handwritten cards for proof of vaccination, Docusign eSignature offers a Certificate of Completion, which provides a permanent audit trail of each sender, signer, approver, or recipient of the form. It also allows citizens to easily access the documentation that proves that they have been vaccinated.

The Docusign Agreement Cloud has over 350 integrations, including the Salesforce Vaccine Cloud for Health Authorities, which is assisting with the Covid-19 vaccination program in a number of locations. Learn more about our vaccine management solution.