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Priority urges digital approach to meet 14m Covid-19 vaccination goal

Behind the vaccination roll-out is a vast logistical operation. Photo: Mark Williamson
Behind the vaccination roll-out is a vast logistical operation. Photo: Mark Williamson

As pressure mounts on the NHS to meet the UK’s 13.9 million vaccination target by February 15, digital innovator Priority Digital Health (PDH) believes the NHS needs to be integrating intelligent booking systems into the vaccination process.

The Denny Lodge Business Park company has identified the kind of issues slowing the current process down. They include the logistical challenge of showing which venues and appointment times are available, the possibility of people slipping through the net and not being offered a vaccination, and what happens when people fail to show up for their appointment for whatever reason.

All these challenges, says John Dibb, Priority’s joint chief executive, could be mitigated and even resolved by deploying a patient management system (PMS), allowing healthcare professionals to focus more on the vaccination of patients and less on administration duties.

“In a digital age, we must use all the tools available to get us through Covid-19,” says Mr Dibb.

“Day-by-day this pandemic continues to take lives and heighten the mental health crisis. This is the biggest mass vaccination campaign in its history and modern technology should be utilised to simplify logistics and speed up the vaccination process.”

Priority, which incorporated in 2016, is a member of Health Foundry, a London-centred collaborative community of businesses working collectively in digital health.

“We know we have the software that will ease pressure from both the NHS and healthcare professionals and we urge the government to make use of it,” says Mr Dibb. “We are already accustomed to the rapidly changing conditions as we launched our Covid-19 Welfare Platform at the start of the pandemic.

John Dibb, joint chief executive of Priority Digital Health
John Dibb, joint chief executive of Priority Digital Health

“The service, commissioned by Essex County Council and delivered by Provide CIC in partnership with Priority Digital Health, is designed for vulnerable people who need the help of volunteers during this unprecedented time with tasks such as essential shopping and dog walking.

“We’re more than ready to continue our support for the country with the current vaccination roll-out.”

Immunisations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and Oxford-AstraZeneca began on December 8 and January 4 for those in priority groups. More than four million people in the UK have now received their first dose of one of the approved vaccines, but there’s a long way to go and Priority believes the power of digital can help towards streamlining this process.

Vaccination clinics can use Priority’s booking platform inside their PMS to:

– Set up clinic venues and appointment times – the system is flexible for appointment durations to be variable. New venues can be added or removed at any time.

– Send invitations via email/SMS or letter to people inviting them to their vaccination.

– Send reminders to patients to attend or rebook their appointments.

“Patients can book themselves into an appointment to suit them – time/venue or first available.”

– Send confirmation of vaccination delivered to GP IT systems through the interoperability with SystmOne, EMIS and Vision.

“The modular approach of the platform means we could integrate with GP systems to accept GP/HCP referrals if that is required in future,” adds Mr Dibb.

“This solution is part of a wider range of options available in the platform, such as volunteering and social prescribing, which is enabling organisations to act rapidly to the pandemic as it continually evolves.”

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