When Tech Does Good

The role of software in Covid-19 vaccine roll-outs

Now, more than ever, software technology, apps and systems are essential to the way society works. But although their downsides are often covered in the media, their ability to bring about change for social good draws far fewer headlines. And yet software solutions are turning out to have a crucial role in the battle against the pandemic.

Covid-19 has laid bare the cracks in our societal structures, particularly in well-established, developed economies. The sense of relief at the speedy development and release of a clutch of effective vaccines, for instance, has started to descend into acrimony as countries squabble over supply and inconsistencies in how vaccines are managed and distributed.

It’s become clear that to turn the tide on the pandemic we need more than science. Indeed, effective logistics are also essential to the efficient distribution and administration of vaccines.

An Opportunity for Smart Coordinated Service Management

This challenge is fundamentally one of accessibility and logistics, and meeting it will demand careful and efficient service management of the supply chain and seamless workflow coordination. Ensuring a smooth transfer of relevant information or data between different, but related supply chain workflows will also be crucial to managing vaccine distribution from provider to patient.

Software solutions such as service management platforms, which are used by organizations from a variety of industries, are well-suited to this task. They give businesses the opportunity to unify access to data and the multiple systems involved in a coordinated supply chain.

National Health Service Scotland Steps Up with ServiceNow

News that the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland is using ServiceNow’s Now Platform to accelerate its vaccination roll-out programme is an example of how established technology solutions can be used for the greater good.

NHS Scotland is using ServiceNow’s platform as the digital backbone of its programme to rapidly roll out the vaccine by integrating and digitizing the entire vaccine administration process. The platform, which was launched in Scotland on 20 January 2021, allowed the NHS to schedule 220,000 vaccination appointments in the first 12 hours, putting the healthcare trust on track to achieve its goal of vaccinating 5.5 million people in 90 days.

This announcement highlights the positive outcomes of when organizations come together in a relationship built on trust. ServiceNow and NHS Scotland teamed up to develop a solution to the operational challenge they faced. Crucially, their response shows how effective it can be to build on an established platform that’s able to extend and align the relevant functionality.

For example, in addition to enlisting ServiceNow to help with its vaccine management programme, NHS Scotland has used the company’s Safe Workplace suite of apps to quickly develop a national contact tracing system, manage inventories of personal protective equipment, and monitor testing data.

This early implementation by NHS Scotland underlines the productivity gains and flexible control that can be achieved in vaccine administration and delivery. It also suggests that ServiceNow is well-positioned to deliver its platform services to any vaccine administration programme anywhere in the world.

Competitive Opportunity for Other Players

ServiceNow isn’t the only software company offering this kind of management service. IBM recently announced that it has partnered with Salesforce and using blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and open platforms to provide a service to support vaccine roll-out and administration. The IBM Digital Health Pass and Salesforce’s customer relationship management tools for healthcare providers are major components of the service.

Central to both vaccine management solutions is the push to build scale, transform operations and allow the tracing of all interactions between all integrated workflows. It’s a development that highlights the importance of effective relationships with partners and a robust ecosystem for technology providers and their customers. It also signals new dynamics in the engagement of tech providers and the solutions they build for a healthcare industry that’s ripe for digital transformation.