Here is your mid-week NCMS Morning Rounds 

March 3, 2021

Logistics Behind a Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

Last Friday, several NCMS staff members joined a group from the eastern chapter of the NC Medical Group Management Association (NCMGMA) to tour Vidant Health’s COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic being held at the Greenville Convention Center. As vaccine supply becomes more plentiful and smaller practices may begin administering them, gleaning lessons on logistics from those who have already set up vaccination clinics could be useful.

As he led the tour through the convention center’s clearly defined registration, vaccination and observation areas, Anthony Bartholomew, vice president of operations for Vidant Medical Group, shared his insights on setting up the mass vaccination clinic. The site has the capacity to administer 3,000 vaccines daily. Since it opened on Jan. 25 through last Friday, Feb. 26 approximately 41,000 vaccines had been given.

“We’ve never set anything up of this magnitude. It was just a lot of rapid planning,” he said, adding that a key to success is “being willing to change if you notice something that isn’t working. With the few days we had to plan it we did the best that we could and I think we did a great job. We really have fine-tuned this over the past five weeks to get it where it is today.”

Scheduling Appointments 
Together Vidant and the Pitt County Health Department websites are set up to take appointments for vaccination. To reach the broader community, workers have gone out to underserved areas and, in collaboration with faith-based organizations, have used tablets to help people make online appointments on the spot.

“All scheduling is done online. We try to maximize the use of technology,” Bartholomew said. “We apply various marketing techniques with that technology and go to various churches and various neighborhoods with tablets to schedule. We found that’s better than taking phone calls or having people turn in lists. We had to learn that lesson the hard way.”

Joyful, Helpful, Safe and Efficient
The public relations and marketing staff at Vidant created a strong framework for the experience they want people to have when they arrive at the Convention Center. No lines and every encounter should be ‘joyful, helpful, safe and efficient.’ Volunteers in bright orange t-shirts with ‘Dose of Hope’ emblazoned on the back greet people at the door with hand sanitizer, a free face mask, if necessary, and a welcoming smile. Volunteers, including National Guardsmen directing traffic and parking, are available to help throughout the process. The atmosphere is almost festive as individuals are guided to one of 26 registration tables set up in the first section.

The basic registration information is initially entered in Epic rather than the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) to expedite the process.

“We decided to take the CVMS off the front to save time. We have another room off in the back where we have 15 to 20 people who are getting reports [from the registration area] that give them enough information to go into the CVMS database and register the patient and put in the shot information,” Bartholomew said, adding that they are working on a technical interface between Epic and the CVMS to streamline the process further.

An individual receiving their first vaccine dose may spend 4 to 6 minutes at the registration area. Second doses take less time. Interpreters – either in-person or online – are available for those who need them. The total vaccination experience from start to finish takes about 30 minutes on average, Bartholomew said.

The clinic does second doses on Monday through Wednesday, and first doses the rest of the week and weekend.

“That cycle seems to go ok,” Bartholomew said. “On second dose days, people really fly through here.”

Vaccination, Observation + Selfies and Cookies
After receiving the vaccine in the vaccination section, individuals move to the observation area where about 210 chairs are set up, physically distanced, in 30-minute and 15-minute observation sections. Appointments for the second dose of vaccine are made at this point. EMS personal always are standing by in case there is a reaction that needs a rapid response.

Lending to the overall festive atmosphere, local bands and musicians have come by to entertain those waiting. “Sometimes it’s hard to get our patients out of here,” Bartholomew said.

As patients do exit, volunteers cheer and guide them to a selfie station and to refreshments to complete the COVID-19 vaccine experience.

For the legions of volunteers and Vidant and county health department staff working this clinic, there is an on-site pharmacy, human resources department personnel, an electronic time clock on site and a break room fully stocked with snacks.

As Bartholomew said: “We want this to be a good experience for everybody.”

North Carolina’s Special Guide to Diabetes Prevention and Management

Did you know North Carolina has its own Guide to Diabetes Prevention and Management? The overall purpose of the Guide is to reduce the burden of diabetes in NC, and it also serves as a call to action for our state.

The Guide:
1. Addresses what diabetes is and what diabetes looks like in North Carolina.
2. Focuses on actions that individuals at risk for diabetes or who have diabetes, families, and peers can implement to improve the health of North Carolinians.
3. Provides specific strategies for community groups, employers, and healthcare providers to implement toward assisting people to manage their risk for developing and/or managing diabetes, including reducing risk of complications.
4. Shares opportunities to focus on what we can do to reduce the burden of diabetes, and the evolving role for our broader society including policy and advocacy in North Carolina.

To coincide with Diabetes Alert Day, the NC Diabetes Advisory Council will be hosting a free webinar to review the Guide on March 23, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. Click here to register.

Request a printed copy of the Guide here. The Guide will soon be available in Spanish.

In the News

What Can You Do Once You’re Vaccinated? Here’s What Fauci And Other Experts Say, Advisory Board, 3-1-21

Learning Opportunity

2021 NC OBGYN Society and NC Section of ACOG VIRTUAL Annual Meeting, March 19-21
Join us virtually to learn more about:
• The latest on breast cancer screening, including genetic counseling and imaging;
• Understanding obesity medication management in weight loss management;
• Help Ob/Gyns appreciate the value that APPs can provide for their patients;
• How too recognize what millennial patients value from their providers and practices and identify realistic ways to meet their expectations;
• The latest updates on common STD/I’s with a focus on the impact to the pregnant population.

Learn more and register here.

If you have policies you’d like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!