Bruyère Pilots Digital Immunization Tracking

By: Bruyère Research Institute

Historically, flu clinics have been paper-based, from appointment cards to intake forms to administrative records. The yellow vaccination cards seem like they should be from a bygone era, but there's no widespread digital alternative – not yet.

This year Bruyère is piloting new technology, developed by CANImmuinze, as a part of its annual influenza vaccination clinic to modernize operations. CANImmunize, a Canadian software company, are the developers of a pan-Canadian digital immunization tracking system for Canadians to keep track of their immunizations through a mobile app and web-based portal. Through the partnership, Bruyère is also deploying CANImmunize's Clinic Flow solution through its flu vaccination clinics.

Clinic Flow offers virtual appointment booking, digital proof of vaccination, and the ability for staff to log their digital vaccination records to Bruyère's occupational health and safety through the CANImmunize mobile app. Any concerns about uptake and buy-in to the digital alternative were assuaged almost immediately. In just the first seven days of Bruyère's flu campaign, over 570 appointments were digitally booked, representing 1021 individual patients and staff. In two days alone the clinic processed more than 420 immunizations.

In a year where it was only expected that flu season would be overwhelming to coordinate for employees, patients, and residents across its three campuses, Bruyère has halved its vaccination time with the use of Clinic Flow. In the first week alone, 38 hours of administrative time were saved through the platform's use, despite expanding the vaccination clinic to include staff members' families. In a health care system that has been feeling the crunch since the initial COVID-19 outbreaks, relieving any administrative and logistical burden is crucial to staff and organizations.

The commercialization project is funded by the CAN Health Network, a federally funded program dedicated to scaling Canadian companies to support the health care system. The Bruyère Research Institute will be working with CANImmunize through the remainder of 2020 to evaluate and refine Clinic Flow to prepare the platform to scale nation-wide to other health care institutions, government, and companies in anticipation of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Bruyère is further working with CANImmunize to integrate employee immunization records directly into the Occupation Health and Safety program, leading to further more time savings and increased capacity for staff. Hunting down a (hopefully) complete immunization card as a part of onboarding in health care is frustrating for many new employees. This secure sync is a window into what digitizing this process would look like.

As the project undergoes evaluation, the Bruyère Research Institute will be looking to see how this innovative approach can be effectively scaled in organizations like Bruyère in order to prepare for the roll out of larger and more complex vaccination clinics. With a multi-dosage vaccination on the horizon, this pilot ultimately hopes to inform how digital tools can be deployed to support Canada's national plan to administer and track the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination.

The response from hospital administration and patients has been positive, and it remains a valuable opportunity to test these tools in a real-world scenario in order to optimize the technology and processes before implementing on a larger scale.