Digital health tools to support flu season

Best Practices

Administering the flu shot is more important – and challenging – than ever before.

Juggling an increased demand for the flu vaccine with physical distancing measures and other in-clinic safety precautions has introduced a whole new series of challenges for clinics. Without the option of walk-in flu shot clinics, many healthcare providers are struggling to determine how they can safely offer the vaccine at scale.

Over the last few weeks, many of our clients have reached out to inquire about how they can use Ocean tools to support flu shot care. With this in mind, we’d like to share some of the ways these clients are using the tools to prepare for their upcoming flu shot clinics.

Allow patients to book visits online:

Online booking provides a safe, simple way for clinics to manage flu shot clinic volume and help ensure proper social distancing measures are in place. By having patients book their flu shot appointments online, clinics can control when patients come to the clinic without overwhelming administrative staff with the task of manual booking each patient visit.

In many cases, clinics will accept bookings from both rostered patients and new patients/walk-ins for the flu shot vaccine. Ocean’s online booking tool allows clinics to customize the schedules that are bookable based on the patient’s status. This allows clinics to open up the flu shot clinic bookings to the community, allowing non-registered patients to book into that schedule.

You can even have patients review and complete a flu shot screen at the time of booking by using our Online booking – Flu Shot Clinic workflow, which includes a helpful infographic, screening questions, and a consent form. If the patient is showing concerning symptoms, they are prevented from booking. With this Ocean form and many others, you can use the online booking tool to collect more information upfront, which can be especially useful for new patients.

To see a quick demo video of how Dr. Doug Kavanagh, our medical officer and co-founder, uses online booking for flu shots in his office, please watch the video below:

Invite patients to get their flu shot and track if they receive it somewhere else:

Even though flu shots may already be top of mind for many patients, it doesn’t hurt to send out invitations to ensure they have all of the necessary information.

If you have email addresses, consent for online communication, and want to avoid mailing out letters, bulk email tools like Mailchimp or ConstantContact can be very useful if you are not including any personal health information, or you don’t require patients to respond with any PHI.

Ocean’s messaging and reminders tool are extremely useful if you’re looking for a secure method of sharing flu clinic information with your patients and require an equally secure way for transmitting information back into the EMR. There is another Ocean form in the library called the Flu Shot Form which is used to ask patients if they’d like a vaccine, if they’ve previously received one and where, and if they select no, the reasons why. This form can be sent to a cohort of patients using the Patient Group Messaging tool in lieu of mailing letters.

If you’d like to automate the message, clinics can make use of our Patient Reminders. Scheduled to send based on currently-booked appointments, it’ll remind patients to book a secondary visit and hopefully improve vaccination rates.

Are you using Ocean for your flu shot visits? Did you find any of these tips useful? For more information on how to get started, request a demo today.

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