Zocdoc, Notable Health roll out tools to help automate COVID-19 vaccine screenings and scheduling

As states struggle to ramp up distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and match supply with demand, intelligent automation software company Notable Health recently announced it has upgraded its platform to help automate COVID-19 vaccine administration workflows and screen for eligibility.

The platform lets healthcare organizations identify patients who meet federal or state criteria to receive the vaccines. In addition to identifying whether a patient is eligible, Notable educates patients on how they can receive the vaccine.

“No. 1 is making sure that a health system’s highest-risk patients receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” Muthu Alagappan, M.D., medical director at Notable Health, told Fierce Healthcare.

Expanding vaccine eligibility

Notable’s platform searches for unvaccinated patients in an electronic health record (EHR) database using machine vision. It will then text the patient and ask questions about risk factors that may affect their decision to take the vaccine. To screen for eligibility, it asks, “Are you currently pregnant?” or “Do you have any of the following chronic health conditions?” Notable identifies patients who are elderly with a condition such as diabetes as a candidate to contact regarding vaccination.

Once patients get the vaccine, Notable can send the update to their EHR at their doctor’s office. Doctors can see which patients still need the vaccine and send out reminders to take their second dose.

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Notable says its intelligent automation platform makes vaccine distribution more equitable by allowing health systems to reach out to patients in disadvantaged communities through text messages.

“We certainly see technology as a way to help improve equitable access and outcomes as it relates to the COVID vaccine,” Alagappan said.

Patients can also step through the Notable screening process when they enter a vaccination center such as a pharmacy. Screening includes questions on whether the patient is sick or has recently had a serious allergic reaction.

Automating administrative workflows

The Notable platform consists of digital assistants or bots that automate administrative and clinical workflows. These tasks include patient outreach, revenue cycle management, care coordination, documentation and billing. AI digital assistants use robotic process automation to perform hundreds of “flows” that automate these tasks.

“Having that ability to automate the transfer of data once we vaccinate someone is extremely important,” Alagappan said.

Since the pandemic began, Notable has helped the healthcare industry automate more than 280,000 COVID-19 pre-visit screenings, according to the company.

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"Using AI, we train 'digital assistants' to update a patient’s chart as soon as the patient receives the vaccine,” Alagappan said. “Once trained, these assistants can work 24 hours a day performing repetitive processes with high fidelity, serving as an intelligent extension of a human workforce.”

Digital health companies see tech opportunities

As the country looks to improve vaccine rollout, solutions such as Notable can help.

Notable’s vaccine screening automation tool aids large healthcare systems, but pharmacies, state governments and smaller health practices can also use the technology.

“We're seeing interest from some local and state governments who have a need to track COVID vaccine records in a central database, as well as some interest from smaller independent practices as well,” Alagappan said.

Other digital health startups are leveraging their technology to help providers coordinate what will be the largest healthcare coordinated effort in history—vaccinating the entire population.

Patient communications company Well Health developed a vaccine deployment program to rapidly coordinate patient messaging for COVID-19 vaccine communications, including patient education, vaccine safety reassurance, appointment scheduling for both doses and adverse event monitoring. The company said the service can be implemented in less than five days and integrates with all major EHR and patient payment systems.

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“With COVID-19 rates skyrocketing and more vaccine supply becoming available, healthcare providers must rapidly identify, educate and engage millions of patients around the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Guillaume de Zwirek, CEO and founder of Well Health, in a statement.

Since the first COVID-19 vaccine became available in the U.S., the company has been used by more than 70 healthcare systems to send 845,000 COVID-19 vaccine communications and schedule 53,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

Online medical appointment booking company Zocdoc also rolled out a new free service that helps healthcare organizations stage and schedule their employees’ COVID-19 vaccinations.

Mount Sinai is the first health system in the country to go live with Zocdoc’s vaccine scheduler tool. Since Dec. 20, Mount Sinai has already scheduled roughly 80,000 vaccine appointments through the service, both for its frontline healthcare employees and for eligible patients in Phase 1B of New York's vaccine distribution plan, the company said.