Digital technology will be the nerve centre of vaccination rollout
New age technologies for inventory planning, Vials tracking, Storage & temperature control, patient registration and tracking, communication and training are some of the areas where technology should be used to ensure seamless rollout of the vaccination process
India is preparing for a massive COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the coming months. This will happen at a scale that the country has never experienced earlier. Envisaging vaccination of 1.3 billion people over the next year and ensuring the process runs efficiently isn’t going to be a cake walk.
An enormous task like this, will require the role of digital to make sure inoculation of masses is smoothly completed and delivered at the earliest.
We should have improved technology and digitization solution for tracking of vaccines to help industry with entire inventory management.
It is temperature controlled and required to be tracked all the time. It contains live virus/bacteria, therefore it loses its efficacy if there are temperature excursions. There are new technologies that are being tested like battery operated boxes to help transport vaccine as per temperature requirement. Also it is important to track the temperature of these boxes or cold chain vehicle for the entire transportation cycle through live digital tracker. All temperature controlled room should also be tracked digitally to check for any deviation while storing.
We should have auto alert enabled in the digital technology across supply chain to enable timely action on temperature deviations. We foresee a need to have infrastructure to be established across supply chain from manufacturer to retailer for temperature requirement and live track it to avoid any loss of potency. Also there is a need to link all of these technology across supply chain cycle through digital mode to ensure patient safety.
Diverse technology like Blockchain, IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can also be considered to make the supply chain data easily available for monitoring and course correction. Ensuring that the vaccines are being shipped to the right place and not diverted or counterfeited. The technology can also help us integrate supply chain touch points to track vaccine and ensure reduction in loss of vaccine.
Need of an end-to-end digital platform
An end-to-end digital platform approach is required to generate insights and evidence from real-world data and other digital health data. Platform that effectively connects patients, caregivers, clinicians, investigators, and life sciences organizations to support faster patient reach. It should also help connect patients and care teams to enable future coordination and management. The platform can be used to deliver integrated solution that provides remote patient registration & monitoring, appointments and in-person visits—all to create a safe, patient-centric care experience.
It will also help deliver comprehensive vaccine management services across the patient journey like tracking dosage to patient and proof of their vaccination. It will also help in having a record of which batch of vaccine the patient took could be helpful for product challenges and recall situation.
Digitization of vaccination trainings
In order to ensure the success of large scale vaccination drives, a highly scalable training solution to reduce dropouts of medical workers and continuously maintain standardized quality of services will be paramount. Instructor-led trainings (ILT) are typically used and where virtual trainings via video conferencing platforms are conducted, it is still time-bound, offers limited scalability due to limited batch capacity and one cannot ensure attentiveness of participants.
Digitization of vaccination trainings with the use of cognitive and AI based technologies such as facial and speech analysis can offer higher capability of role-plays in life-like-vaccination environments. Since it is virtual, self-paced, it can be done anytime, anywhere in real-time and hence, has large scalability. It is suitable for training all stakeholders – training the trainers (ToTs), vaccinator Officers, immunisation officers, and local medical workers. Communication through such methods can be conducted on various covid vaccination related subjects – storage, handling, safe injection, setting up sites, managing immunization waste, correct use of syringes and patient FAQs like vaccine safety, 30mins wait time, registration, managing AEFIs, general practices etc.
While implementation of digital technology is imperative, at the same time the authorities should built secure infrastructure to ensure data leakages and cyber threats.
In the end, using new age technologies for inventory planning, Vials tracking, Storage & temperature control, patient registration and tracking, communication and training are some of the areas where technology should be used to ensure seamless rollout of the vaccination process.
Authored by Jaishil Shah, Partner, Deloitte India