6 Ways Data Companies Are Stepping Up to Help COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts
The pandemic hasn’t been easy at any phase, and the same holds true now as vaccinations are underway. This vaccine rollout stands as a light at the end of a long and arduous tunnel, but several challenges remain.
Ensuring safe, effective and widespread vaccinations is far from straightforward. While the obstacles are daunting, several data companies have stepped up to make the process easier. Data has become an indispensable resource for many companies, and now the businesses that specialize in it are a critical part of public health.
1. Distribution Monitoring
Some companies, like Genesys and 1health, are using patient data to provide insights into vaccine distribution. These systems track which patients received which vaccine, plus reactions, antibody results, who administered the vaccine and other information. This creates a growing database about how effective an area’s vaccine rollout is and whether any issues emerged.
Local authorities can use this data to tailor their vaccination plans, ensuring safer, more widespread distribution. If they need to adjust any processes, they’ll know before it becomes a pressing issue. They can also use this database to create algorithms to predict outcomes in future health crises.
2. Resource Allocation
Data-mining company Palantir has been developing software to help governments allocate vaccination resources. The system, called Tiberius, analyzes regional data about COVID-19 infections and vaccination rates. This information can then help politicians and health care organizations allocate resources more effectively.
Tiberius can identify areas with higher at-risk populations, growing infection rates or obstacles to vaccination. Manufacturers and governments can then ship more resources to where they’re needed most. Local authorities can also see where they need to establish new programs to encourage further vaccination in areas of low engagement.
3. Vaccine Outreach Programs
One of the most persistent problems in COVID-19 vaccination efforts has been patient engagement. Many people don’t know when they’re eligible, don’t understand the gravity of the situation or are on the fence about it. Some data and AI companies have designed vaccine outreach programs to encourage vaccinations.
These services send automated notifications to people who are eligible for vaccinations, prompting them to make an appointment. Many also include resources so people unsure about the vaccines can learn more about them and their safety. Local health care authorities can then fight disinformation and improve vaccination rates.
4. Supply Chain Tracking
Ensuring vaccines stay safe throughout the supply chain and arrive on time is essential for effective rollout. Given mRNA vaccines’ extreme storage needs, this can be challenging. In response, IBM has provided supply chain management software to help secure vaccines along their journey.
IoT devices and blockchain technology let medical organizations see precisely where shipments are at any time, ensuring a timely rollout. Similarly, the system monitors storage conditions to ensure the doses remain stable throughout the supply chain. If something happens to jeopardize their safety, routes can adjust to deliver them before they expire.
5. Vaccine Education
Much fear surrounds the COVID-19 vaccines, which can dissuade people from receiving a shot. Some data companies have taken a stand against this by using their resources to stop misinformation and promote education. For example, Google has pledged to fund fact-checking research and support factual journalism.
The search engine company has also worked to restrict false or misleading information on its platform. At the same time, it promotes fact-based research about the vaccines to users. These efforts let users learn about vaccines in their everyday online activities, helping assuage fears and encourage more vaccinations.
6. Vaccine and Health Passes
As the vaccinated population increases, local economies can start to reopen. Doing this safely may require differentiating between vaccinated and unvaccinated customers, and data companies provide the resources to enable that. IBM, for example, has launched a vaccine passport app, now in service in New York.
Services like this enable businesses to verify customers’ vaccination status, enabling safer reopenings. These “passports” can also incentivize further vaccinations. Relying on a distributed database instead of a centralized system helps ensure patient data remains secure while providing these services.
Data Is an Indispensable Resource for Vaccination Efforts
Without these data companies’ support, vaccine rollout would be far more challenging. These services make vaccine education and distribution a safer, faster and more effective process. Vaccination efforts may still be complex, but they’re far easier than they could be.
The pandemic has proved how valuable a tool data is for health care organizations, and these vaccine efforts exemplify that. Going forward, the medical industry will likely rely on data-centric services like these after such impressive use cases.