How Providence vaccinated more than half of its 120,000 employees across 7 states

Amy Compton-Phillips, MD, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of Providence, told CNBC the Renton, Wash.-based health system has had a timely rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to employees thanks to artificial intelligence and careful planning.

As of Jan. 4, Providence reported it has given the first dose to more than half of its 120,000 employees in 51 hospitals in seven states. 

Dr. Compton-Phillips told CNBC planning is a large factor in this success.

"All along with COVID-19, we've been thinking that planning is the antidote to panic," she said, adding that Providence started planning in September for a vaccine and how it would handle distributing it to employees.

She said the health system knew tools would be needed to help Providence identify the highest-risk employees, and it considered how it could validate data and then use that data to reach out to people about vaccination using modern tools like texting.

"Because we did that planning and we started the rollout as soon as the CDC said they were ready to go, we were ready with our capacity to start notifying our caregivers to come get treated with the vaccine," Dr. Compton-Phillips told CNBC.

Part of that planning was using artificial intelligence to develop a "validate and verify" tool. Dr. Compton-Phillips said the tool had information about roles and work locations, "everything from doctors to housekeepers to respiratory therapists to IT people." Employees were also asked to verify their risk and role.

"I think the biggest lesson is don't hesitate to start doing something. Some immunizations are better than none. And to ask your people, make sure you hear from them, not just trusting the data," Dr. Compton-Phillips told CNBC.

Providence is not the only organization to use algorithms to prioritize shot distribution. Read more about other hospitals' efforts here.

Read the full CNBC article here


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