Immunization jurisdictions across the United States are making real progress in distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccines. It’s a massive effort requiring careful orchestration of technology platforms and supply chains, as well as education and engagement to reach individuals in every community.

Some jurisdictions have stood up massive, centralized vaccination centers. Others are relying on networks of pharmacies and healthcare providers. Some are doing both.

All share a common need: contact management.

Contact management starts as an extension of education and engagement strategies and tactics – providing channels for disseminating information and answering questions from the public. But this critical dimension of COVID-19 vaccine management and distribution also covers everything from vaccine eligibility to scheduling appointments to following up with appointment reminders and post-vaccination check-ins.

Given the scope and scale of COVID-19 vaccination programs, contact management is difficult, if not impossible, to effectively manage manually or via human agents alone. In working with several jurisdictions, Accenture has helped implement virtual agents to streamline, automate and accelerate many aspects of contact management.

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Virtual agents can support various scenarios. These are just a few:

Frequently Asked Questions

Virtual agents can help individuals find quick answers to questions, such as:

  • When will the vaccine be available?
  • How do I register/schedule a vaccine appointment?
  • How do I report an adverse reaction to the vaccine after I’ve left the vaccination site?
Registration

A mobile-friendly web browser and/or voice-enabled virtual agent can also aid in getting more individuals signed up to receive information about COVID-19 vaccinations.

Scheduling and Reminders

With a simple workflow-driven interface, users can locate open appointments in or near their location. From there, the virtual agent can walk the user through the process of selecting a location, finding a day and time, and securing an appointment for a vaccine. A virtual agent also automates follow-up reminders – helping reduce no-shows while ensuring that people have the detailed information that they need to successfully receive their first (and, if needed, second) dose.

Adverse Event Survey

After someone receives a dose of vaccine, use a virtual agent to check in regularly about any possible adverse events.

While virtual agents aren’t the only tool for contact management, they are proving effective in helping cities, counties and states manage large influxes of requests for information and support. Virtual agents offer around-the-clock access to information and resources, meeting individuals when it is convenient for them. Using virtual agents also frees up government workers and dollars to focus on communities where a less digitally enabled approach is more effective in screening for eligibility, scheduling appointments and conducting follow-up.

The final post in this series will focus on one more dimension of vaccine management and distribution: data and analytics. In the meantime, let’s connect via LinkedIn.

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Eyal Darmon

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Public Service

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