Health system leaders on the lessons they've learned from the COVID-19 vaccine rollout


The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is the biggest logistical challenge the healthcare industry faces today, and many leaders have had to learn hard lessons on the go. Healthcare leaders have developed many strategies to deal with challenges that appeared during the first several months of the vaccine rollout, from health inequities to confusion about vaccine eligibility, to vaccine hesitancy. 

Three healthcare leaders spoke with Becker's Hospital Review about lessons learned from the vaccine rollout during an April 6 webinar hosted by Becker's and sponsored by WELL™ Health. 

The leaders were: 

  • Caleb Sandford, COO of Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center in Hayward, Calif.
  • Meg Aranow, Senior Vice President Platform Evangelist and Client Success at WELL Health 
  • Rajiv Pramanik, Chief Medical Informatics Officer at Contra Costa Health Services in Martinez, Calif. 

Three key takeaways from their discussion: 

  1. Basing vaccine eligibility on age is the best way to go. The confusion surrounding who is eligible, caused by differences between federal, state and county rules, has slowed the vaccine rollout considerably. It's confused the public who are waiting to be vaccinated and led to challenging questions for hospitals and health systems.  Healthcare workers had to make decisions like should they let someone receive a vaccine because they were confused about eligibility and signed up for an appointment they weren't qualified for? Mr. Sandford estimated the U.S. could be doing 30 percent more vaccinations if the whole country was following an age-based system to eliminate confusion. This would also make it easier for providers to verify if someone is eligible.

  2. There are more tech-savvy folks than healthcare providers thought. Almost 70 percent of people over 65 use a smartphone, Ms. Aranow said. That's helped providers realize they can digitally scale even more than they already have. But the problem with having a technologically driven system is the people who don't know how to navigate it get left behind. Mr. Pramanik stressed this is why it's important to also conduct outreach to communities that are less adept at technology or don't have the resources.
  1. Targeted marketing is the key to overcoming vaccine hesitancy. For people in communities that may be hesitant to get a vaccine, the solution is to develop trust and educate, Mr. Pramanik said.  Ms. Aranow added that building trust and amplifying it with the use of technology is one way to reach communities that are harder to reach.  Healthcare providers aren't marketing agencies, but they need to figure out how to communicate messages that resonate with the vaccine-hesitant population, Mr. Sandford said.

To view the full webinar, click here.


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