Are you ready to support COVID-19 vaccinations?Pharmacists · Mar 3, 2021
Provinces and territories across Canada are scaling up their vaccine distribution strategies as new supplies arrive. While the overall approach varies from region to region, one thing is for certain: demand is very high and local health authorities are focusing on efficient ways to meet that demand.
This means pharmacists will be key partners in making sure patients in their communities are safely and quickly protected, as we work toward the goal to have at least 70% of Canadians1 vaccinated this year.
Studies show the majority of Canadians intend to be vaccinated2 against COVID-19. In fact, about one-third of Canadians (35%) want their vaccinations as soon as it’s available, and another 31% intend to be vaccinated, within six months to a year.
This means pharmacists can expect a large and continuing volume of patients once vaccines are widely available. The vast majority (81%) of Canadians say pharmacies are a safe place to receive a vaccine3. When it comes to supporting access to vaccinations, based on available supplies, pharmacies will be important, as most Canadians have a pharmacy within five kilometers of home.
Preparing for an exceptional volume of appointment requests.
As guidance from provincial health authorities is being defined, it’s a good time to make sure you have the technology to offer online appointment booking that integrates to your existing pharmacy calendar and that will support you during COVID-19 vaccination and in the future. Online appointment tools offer a number of advantages, including:
Fewer phone calls to your pharmacy to book, change or cancel appointments
Less staff time spent on appointment scheduling
Accurate demand-supply forecasting
Integration to the pharmacy management system where you can set the appointment parameters (time of the day, length of the appointment, link to the right calendar)
Safe distancing in your pharmacy
Shorter patient wait times and better patient flow
Fewer no-shows with automatic appointment reminders
Easily managing multi-dose vaccine patients
Empowered patients who can manage their appointments online and answer pre-screening questions prior to the vaccination
Expanded digital relationships with patients already using
Pro Tip: Make sure your appointment system offers automatic reminders by email and/or SMS to manage, create, change or cancel appointments. These are proven to reduce missed appointments4 in the context of clinics leveraging a similar tool.
Documentation around vaccination is key.
Another planning consideration is how to manage compliance and documentation. While it’s still unclear how proof of vaccination will be managed in Canada, there may be a requirement to document each dose, and there could be different requirements depending on the province.
Now is the time to ensure your pharmacy management system is updated and ready to accurately record vaccinations and produce documentation on the spot for patients to take with them or to share with your provincial health authority.
Make sure you have a system that is ready to:
Manage consent documentation
Update patient records in the pharmacy management system
Produce immunization confirmation documents
Create insightful reports about patient management
Align with public health guidelines around COVID-19 vaccines
Educating patients on the importance of vaccination.
With only 66% of Canadians saying they are willing to receive the vaccine5, Canada may fall below the threshold for herd immunity. Pharmacists can play a key role in educating Canadians about vaccine safety and efficacy.
To reach as many patients as possible, another technology to explore is virtual care. By offering virtual consultations to your patients, you can be proactive in helping them understand the benefits of vaccination and answering questions that might be causing hesitancy, all that using video, audio or chat. If you aren’t already using this valuable tool, now is a great time to add it to your toolkit.
As Dr. Dominik Nowak, Chair of the TELUS Medical Advisory Council, pointed out in his article in November, a vaccine won’t end the pandemic, but it will put our communities on the road to recovery.
Communities drive recovery.
In many places, such as the United Kingdom, pharmacists are already proving to be key players in getting vaccines deployed quickly. Here in Canada, it’s estimated that pharmacists will be able to administer up to three-million doses a week6, once supplies become available. Now is the time to put the right tools in place to meet the coming surge in demand.
Three ways Kroll can support your vaccination services:
Virtual Consultations from Kroll helps you educate your patients about the importance of vaccination, using an alternative way to connect with them through video, audio or chat.
The fully integrated, PharmaConnect™ helps you use automated mobile messaging to stay in touch with patients & allow for online and mobile prescription ordering and refills.
At TELUS, you can count on our pharmacy management solutions to help you support the pandemic recovery in your community.