Vaccinating India is the workflow challenge of our lifetime, Health News, ET HealthWorld


Vaccinating India is the workflow challenge of our lifetimeBy Arun Balasubramanian, Managing Director India & SAARC, ServiceNow

The global vaccination rollout is, unequivocally, one of the most daunting logistical challenges of our generation. For India, the inoculation drive – already well underway – represents one of the biggest challenges considering our population size and geographic spread. More than 40 million citizens have received at least one dose so far, with the aim to administer 500 million doses by the end of July.

This compressed timeframe calls for agility and speed. For every delay, there’s not only a financial impact, but a very real human cost. While immunisation is a patient-centric procedure, vaccine delivery is a classic “last mile” problem. And it’s perhaps the most significant workflow challenge of our lifetime.

Scientists developed effective Covid-19 vaccines in less than a year, compared to eight years or more for standard drug development. That’s an amazing feat, but even the best vaccine is useless if you can’t close that last-mile gap by administering it quickly, safely, and at scale for people. Ultimately, the success of the vaccine rollout depends on the last mile.

India is a vaccine powerhouse: we make 60% of the world’s vaccines and half a dozen major manufacturers call this country home. Although our healthcare professionals know how to run vaccine programs, they’ve never had to deliver multi-dose vaccinations for nearly the whole population while managing limited supplies and a rolling schedule of prioritised patient cohorts based on risk. And they’re deploying this program within a crisis environment where Covid-19 has already infected over 13 million citizens and disrupted our entire way of living.

Workflow it

While much of the public vaccine management focus is on health communication and education, technology plays a vital role. Digital workflows can help solve the challenges of vaccine administration.

Think about it like this: vaccine delivery is a workflow—a defined process with clear steps—just like employee service delivery or customer service. Administering the vaccine calls for innovative technology and leading workflow solutions to effectively inoculate people across 28 states and 8 union territories.

The end-to-end ecosystem – or chain of custody – is vast: from citizen prioritisation to manufacturing, distribution, including safe transportation and stringent storage requirements, to the last mile of patient engagement, in-clinic administration and monitoring. Adding to the complexity, each touchpoint intersects our national agencies, the government, state officials, local governments, analytics vendors, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, and our healthcare providers and hospitals. Intelligent workflows are the only way to connect every step.

Yet, many ServiceNow customers in the global healthcare space told us they were using spreadsheets to track who received the vaccines, at which location, and when they were due to receive the required second dose. Others said they were keeping hard copy records of vaccine storage information. Such manual processes compromise the vaccine delivery. And they aren’t necessary.

With ServiceNow’s Vaccine Administration Management solution, we have digitised these processes and more. By harnessing the power of the Now Platform, vaccine administrators can achieve the scale, speed, and flexibility required to safely protect India’s citizens.

AI and machine learning support the chain of custody, as information moves from one place to another. For example, the vaccine temperature controls that must be mandatorily maintained are fully automated on the Now Platform. Likewise, the management of vaccine inventory.

Putting people at the heart of the last-mile, ServiceNow’s Vaccine Administration Management delivers a modern, self-service experience across desktop and mobile devices. It connects patient engagement with back-end inventory systems so organisations can easily schedule appointments and send reminders, notify patients when more C0vid-19 vaccines are available, and communicate when a new segment of the population is being prioritised for the vaccination.

Digital workflows automate the chain of custody, connecting multiple systems of record seamlessly and making healthcare work better for people – for the workforce and for citizens. The opportunity for human error is greatly minimised, regulatory compliance is embedded into every process and the rollout effort becomes much more data-driven and accountable.

NHS Scotland and the State of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) are among the more than 100 organisations globally currently working with ServiceNow on their vaccine management efforts.

The need of the hour

When core systems aren’t connected, poor patient experiences result. Resources and effort constrained by manual processes diminish the humanity necessary to deliver genuine care.
Since the pandemic began, ServiceNow has been putting technology to work in service of people.

Our Vaccine Administration Management solutions are a part of our broader efforts to support customers and organisations as they fight Covid-19. For example, ServiceNow’s Safe Workplace suite is helping organisations gauge workforce and workplace readiness to support a safe return for employees.

As India progresses the second phase of the vaccination drive, accelerating the pace of rollout and reaching as many citizens as possible is the need of the hour. ServiceNow is committed to helping our customers manage the unique, evolving challenges presented by the pandemic. Working together, we will prevail.

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it. shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly).

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