Preparing Retail Pharmacies for the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
Mike Cantrell, RPh, Esq.,
Sr. Director Regional Operations, EnlivenHealth
The biggest vaccination campaign in history is underway and scaling fast.
COVID-19 vaccines are now being distributed across the USA and administered to an expanding universe of patient populations. It’s clear that retail pharmacies will play a critical role in the vaccination of the general public in the coming months.
To help pharmacists work at the top of their license, last September the Department of Health and Human Services authorized state licensed pharmacists to administer COVID vaccinations to patients aged three years and older. On the state level, the California Board of Pharmacy has given pharmacists the authority to order COVID tests, interpret those test results, prescribe a COVID vaccine, and administer the vaccine.
Retail pharmacies have risen to the challenges of the pandemic and see it as an opportunity to promote the pharmacists’ position in healthcare delivery. But the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine has also presented significant logistical and operational challenges to retail pharmacists as they try to manage increased patient demand and pharmacy workload. And that’s where technology becomes imperative.
More retail pharmacies are supporting their COVID-19 vaccination programs using robust technology to automate traditionally manual and paper-based processes to enable hands-free scheduling, vaccine registry reporting, and patient outreach. CareScheduler, the new SaaS technology solution from Omnicell division EnlivenHealth™, automates many of the operational aspects of administering the COVID-19 vaccine. As part of EnlivenHealth’s industry-leading Patient Engagement Platform, CareScheduler is being deployed by major pharmacy brands throughout the country and already has been used to schedule more than 100,000 patient vaccination appointments.
Patient engagement software and communications technology solutions will play a vital role in helping retail pharmacists to transform their practices to meet community healthcare needs today, and in the future. Crucially, these new digital technologies, including pharmacy medication management solutions, are freeing up pharmacists’ time to spend more quality time with patients.
Omnicell’s latest Future of Pharmacy podcast, “The COVID Vaccine Is Here – How Should Retail Pharmacies Prepare?” offers an in-depth discussion about how technology is facilitating a smoother vaccine rollout, and how retail chains like Harps Food Stores, Inc. are preparing for the next phase.