Online Scheduling System for Vaccinations

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After several walk-in clinics took place at the University of Minnesota, planners identified a need to regulate client flow and reduce wait times. Planners responded by quickly shifting to an online block scheduling system. The system allowed clients to register for a 15-minute block of time to receive a vaccination; within each time block, clients were vaccinated on a first-come, first-served basis. The system worked well. It enhanced clinic operations by shortening wait times, promoting a steady and predictable flow of patients, maximizing resources and vaccine delivered per unit of time, and ultimately increasing the number of vaccinations provided at mass clinics. Use of the system also resulted in less stress on clients, as well as nurses and other clinic staff.

The Minnesota Department of Health awarded Public Health Emergency Response (PHER) IV funds to the University of Minnesota to expand and enhance the online scheduling system with the help of an external technology consultant. The enhanced system will allow the user to create, view and edit an appointment to receive an influenza vaccine at a mass immunization clinic. It will also allow the user to complete and pre-print a vaccine screening form, and it will automatically send e-mail confirmations and reminders to clients about appointments. The administrative users of this system will be able to create and edit immunization clinic schedules; edit text on the system; view, cancel and edit appointments; generate reports from the collected data; and create e-mail communication lists for registered clients. In addition, the system has built-in capacity for security authentication.

U of M personnel shared information about the technical specifications of this system with personnel from a local health department in the area, based on their interest in developing a similar system.

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