How Providence, Intermountain CIOs are preparing for COVID-19 vaccines

Listen

The preparations for COVID-19 vaccine distribution are well underway and will be a priority for health system CIOs heading into 2021.

Twenty-five states have immunization data systems in place, but most aren't prepared to track COVID-19 vaccinations or report data to the federal government, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Health systems are stepping up to coordinate vaccine distribution in the future.

"Our IT organization has the responsibility to provide all of the technology and data needed to track virtually all aspects of distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine," said Ryan Smith, vice president and CIO of Salt Lake City, Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare. "This entails a significant amount of collaboration and coordination with many different functions within and external to Intermountain to ensure our response scales to serve the needs of our communities."

Intermountain coordinates with Utah's immunization registry to ensure clinical systems have updated immunization data from the state in near real time. The health system also developed an interface between the state and Intermountain's EHR to coordinate between doses; both parties can see which vaccine the patient received for the first dose to make sure the correct second dose is administered.

This type of interoperability will be essential throughout the vaccine distribution process next year.

"Interoperability can, and hopefully, will play a role in the conditions of how the vaccine is controlled and stored, understanding that the vaccine was handled properly so that they are effective when they are given. If not, there could be some misunderstanding or gap in knowing how effective those are," said Steve Wretling, chief technology and innovation officer for the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society in an interview with the Becker's Healthcare podcast earlier this year.

"Also, the opportunity to quickly gather and report if there are adverse reactions to a certain batch of vaccine or by a certain maker, even though it's gone through all the trials or conditions, being able to record that data and share and report that data to the state and other types of health authorities is going to be important," Mr. Wretling said.

Providence Executive Vice President and CIO BJ Moore told Becker's the Renton, Wash.-based health system also is taking steps to prepare for the vaccine.

"Our [information security] works closely with our clinical teams to ensure the EHR tools are ready to go and our caregivers are supported so they can support our patients," he said. "We stood up teams to focus on multiple vaccine distribution work streams."

Looking ahead, Providence is considering acquiring additional iPads and laptops to make the documentation process more efficient.

"The vaccine distribution will require many aspects of IS services including tracking, documentation, reporting and supporting multiple methods of delivery," Mr. Moore said.

Providence also is working closely with federal agencies to track and share data, Mr. Moore said. In addition to his IT role, Mr. Moore oversees real estate and operations for the health system, areas that are integral to vaccine storage and distribution. The health system may buy more freezers and build traditional and alternative vaccine delivery sites.

Intermountain is working with Cerner to develop and implement a clinical service tool for rapid COVID-19 vaccine registration, ordering and delivery.

"This 'mass vaccination' tool will allow for easy adoption of curbside, drive-thru and other vaccine delivery models," said Mr. Smith. "In addition, we're developing registries through our population health platform that will help identify and manage cohorts of patients who both need and qualify for the limited supply of COVID vaccinations, as well as to track those patients still requiring a second dose."

Intermountain has laid the foundation for real-time clinical decision support at the point of care. It is also focused on population-level outreach through care management software and consumer digital technologies. The health system also said it plans to connect and support individuals through its My Health+ mobile health app.

More articles on health IT:
10 recent health IT exec moves
LSU Health email hack exposes patient information: 4 details
Making health IT more resilient: 3 questions with Fairview CIO Sameer Badlani

 

 

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2021. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars