Denver Health has been on top to offer as many people as possible to get vaccinated during the pandemic. The real struggle was to get people who did not have patient records with Denver Health into the system smoothly without pressuring the call centers.

The issue

Denver Health vaccinated many people who were not its regular patients. Earlier, the health system created a vaccine interest form produced by the IT teams on a different database allowing anyone from the public to get their names on the waitlist for the vaccination appointment.

The database was then used to get contact information and send scheduling tickets to people to get a vaccination appointment online without the need for the health systems portal. This was a manual and tedious process for the IT teams.

The pediatric vaccinations in spring 2021, would burden the call center as the staff would have to get access to scheduling thousands of kids in Denver Public Schools. Also, the health system had to wait for the students to get the information to their parents and get the consent signed.

The solution – Using Epic’s open scheduling system

By leveraging Epic EMR Software’s open scheduling system the health system can revert to a less manual method. The robust system would allow people who desired to get an appointment, to click the link on Denver Health’s website or a community partner website, and easily find the location and vaccine without being a patient.

The patients of Denver Health can also use this tool or simply log into the Epic MyChart patient portal account and schedule easily from there. The open scheduling facility was used when the vaccination supply wasn’t limited and the eligibility criteria to get the vaccine wasn’t too strict, therefore the need to have a patient wait list was eliminated. This allowed the health system’s clinics to have a definite number of vaccines available for open scheduling while saving some spots for patients having underlying conditions.

The EHR vendor marketplace

There are some good Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software vendors that are part of the marketplace. These include athenahealth, Cerner, Greenway Health, Meditech, and NextGen Healthcare. They offer powerful features, functionality, ease of use, and interoperability option to their users.

Results with open scheduling

The following benefits and results were achieved when Epic’s open scheduling system was used,

  • Without the open scheduling system call volumes would have burdened the call center.
  • Through the open scheduling system around 20% of appointments were made for people aged 18 and below.
  • In November 2021, 37% of patients came through open scheduling.