Avoiding the “last mile” trap of vaccine management

By Arun Balasubramanian, Managing Director, India & SAARC, ServiceNow

In every country, government agencies, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and other organisations are grappling with the challenges of getting vaccines (often in two doses) into the arms of eligible recipients.

With a handful of vaccines approved by governments around the world, the return to work, to social activities, to a semblance of normalcy now rests on our ability to secure supplies and vaccinate 7.8 billion people in an efficient and safe manner.  Locally, administering more than 10 million doses a day to inoculate all eligible adults by year’s end is nothing short of a herculean task.

From ServiceNow’s perspective, this is one of the biggest workflow challenges ever: vaccine management.

To be clear, vaccine management isn’t just about vaccines: it’s the careful synchronisation of inventory supply, storage, transportation, people prioritisation, and real-time reporting operating across states. Multiple organisations play a role in the process, starting with distribution, moving to administration, post-immunisation safety, and efficacy monitoring.

The human and financial cost of delays or errors that expose people to risk cannot be afforded. Time, speed, and safety is of the essence. India is battling the toughest hurdle in immunising its citizens: solving the last-mile logistics of administering the vaccine.

Healthcare providers – already overwhelmed – are under immense pressure to meet increased demand with uncertain supply, along with concerns about safety and efficacy. With every adult now eligible to register, our health system is beyond strained. Questions about where doses are being administered, scheduled (and rescheduled) is also costing people time.

There is a better way for India to connect vaccines with citizens.  ServiceNow® Vaccine Administration Management (VAM) accelerates the immunisation process by delivering out-of-box content to manage vaccinations.

Governments and health care organisations around the world are using intelligent workflows to orchestrate – and accelerate – their entire vaccination program, from allocation all the way to patient delivery.

Citizens can visit a self-service portal to review and provide privacy consent, use the knowledge base or Virtual Agent to address common questions, and self-schedule their appointment after responding to an eligibility questionnaire. Administrators can manage appointments, set up and send pre-appointment reminders, and schedule appointments. Clinicians can verify recipient information, review questionnaire responses and record completed vaccinations and no-shows.

Digital workflows reduce the time and friction to quickly vaccinate people. It helps recipients efficiently resolve concerns and book an appointment. On the healthcare side, administrators and clinicians can more quickly verify eligibility, manage schedules, and perform and record vaccinations.

Arun Balasubramanian, Managing Director, India & SAARC, ServiceNow

Like so many other countries racing to immunise their population, providing production certainty and securing an adequate supply of vaccines is India’s priority – but that’s only one piece of our vaccination puzzle. Safe and efficient vaccine management is critical to re-establishing trustworthy, reliable systems – social, economic, governmental – that we can count on.  VAM also gives authorities the necessary capability to support localised drives targeting the most vulnerable, or ramp up vaccinations in regions where infections may be increasing.

While it may feel hard to look ahead with much optimism right now, the government’s recent boost in vaccine doses, the upswing in rural immunisations, and the availability of solutions like VAM to help solve distribution hurdles make that glimmer of hope on the horizon suddenly feel a lot closer.

(Vaccine Administration Management is built on Customer Service Management Professional and is available from the ServiceNow Store. Existing ServiceNow customers can connect with their account executive or contact us for more details.)

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