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A free app offered by Underwriters Laboratory, based in Franklin, TN, can help risk managers improve their employee vaccination programs. The app can improve compliance rates and documentation, says Kathleen O’Neill, RN, BSN, CCM, CPDM, director of employee health and wellness at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston.
The app is available on iTunes at http://tinyurl.com/moyvy92.
As at most hospitals, UTMB is always striving to improve vaccination compliance, for employee health, infection control, and risk management reasons. O’Neill decided to try the app to streamline the flu vaccination program at her facility and also to create a "technology buzz" around the app that would drive people to be vaccinated. After using the app for five weeks, O’Neill says those benefits have been realized.
"We’re conducting flu vaccinations now for our large clinics and our academic medical center on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays," she says. "We have six stations that we run with the IPad. We have utilized the app on an IPad, so it keeps us very mobile. It’s easy to set up in the lobby of the hospital."
As O’Neill hoped, the app and IPads have drawn more people to the vaccination offer. "They hear it’s all done on the IPad, and I guess they just think that sounds interesting, so they go down to take a look," she says. "If that helps more people get vaccinated, I’m all for it."
In addition, the app frees up staff who otherwise would be needed to key in data on each vaccination from paper forms. Using the app also is much faster than filling out paperwork, so more of the hospital’s busiest people – physicians and executives, in particular – are willing to obtain a flu vaccination. The new method means there usually is no line at all, which O’Neill says is important because many employees might see a line and decide they don’t want to wait.
"It only takes a couple of minutes for this process, so we’re seeing more faculty and people who otherwise would say it takes too long," O’Neill says. "We’ve compared our early season vaccination rates against the previous three years, and there’s a significant improvement."
Flu vaccinations still are available in employee health at any time. The hospital purchased six IPads for the vaccination program, but O’Neill says they will be used for other activities other than vaccinations. UTMB also uses a peer vaccination system, in which employees working overnight or weekends can get a vaccination from someone in their department. In some cases, departments have chosen to buy their own IPads so they can use the Underwriters Laboratory app."It would be very hard to go back to the paper system," she says.