Digital health tools to support flu season (Updated for 2023)

Best Practices

Fall marks the return of a few things – back to school, pumpkin spice lattes, and flu season! While some are more fun than others, the team at Ocean is always eager and ready to help clinics prepare for vaccination clinics. We’ve already been flooded with requests regarding how to set up Ocean to facilitate flu shot clinics, so our practice consultant team has created a one-stop-shop document to help you walk through the process. Once you’re all set up, check out our tips below for flu shot best practices.

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 appointment.

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.

Automatically invite patients to get their flu shot:

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. In the Ocean Library, clinics can find and use our “Flu Shot” form. This questionnaire is complete with an infographic, and questions like if they’re interested in receiving a vaccine, did they already receive one and from where, and if not interested – why.

For your high-risk patient groups, this form is particularly useful for screening and tracking for program monitoring. While this article from Dr. Doug Kavanagh refers to cancer screening specifically, many of the workflows discussed can easily be applied to flu visits.

If you want to avoid mailing out letters and would prefer to send digital reminders, you’ll need the following:

  • Email addresses & email consent for online communications
  • Ocean Patient Messages & Reminders license(s)

To incorporate invites within your existing messaging workflows, consider adding a note to the bottom of your template reminding patients to get their flu shot and include a link to your online booking schedule. This is an easy way to remind patients to book a secondary vaccine visit for and improve immunization rates without any additional work for clinic staff.

If your invites don’t contain personal health information, or you don’t require patients to respond with any, sending invites using bulk email tools like Mailchimp or ConstantContact can be a free and faster alternative.

Screen patients at check-in:

Even if your patients are already in the waiting room, screening doesn’t have to stop there! By using devices like check-in kiosks or patient tablets, you can display the Flu Shot form and screen them as they arrive for their appointment.

At Women’s College Hospital, they created a unique workflow using check-in kiosks and a custom Ocean Form for infection control. Depending on the patient’s self-reported symptoms, they can proceed as usual, or be directed to sanitize, mask up, and move to a separate isolation ward.

Need help preparing for flu season?

Get in touch with Ocean today!

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