Preparing your clinic for flu season
With flu season fast approaching, it’s essential that General Practices are prepared for the upcoming flu season. General Practice plays a critical role in ensuring that patients are vaccinated against influenza and are well equipped to avoid getting sick this flu season.
The following article outlines the steps you can take to help ensure that your clinic is prepared for flu season this year.
Identifying patients who are eligible to receive the government-funded flu vaccine
Knowing how many patients in your clinic are eligible to receive the government-funded flu vaccine is crucial to a well-managed flu season. It dictates how many vaccines you will need to order, and the amount of nursing and clinic hours you will need to dedicate to your flu clinic in order to effectively deliver the vaccine.
Patients eligible to receive the flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) include:
- Children aged 6 months to under 5 years
- People aged 65 years or over
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
- People aged 6 months or over who have a medical condition that is associated with an increased risk of influenza disease complications
Identifying these patients from your patient cohort can be a challenging and time-consuming task. It often involves a lot of manual reporting, from running various SQL queries (if you know how) or trawling over your appointment book or wait lists.
Your time is better spent improving practice processes and ensuring that your patients receive the best care possible. Utilising reporting tools such as Cubiko can help streamline your vaccination clinic, by looking at historical data to help you easily identify patients who may be eligible to receive the government-funded vaccine. You can give these lists to your practitioners who can then assess their patient’s eligibility, and you can work together to ensure that the patient comes back to the Practice to receive their vaccine.
Determining the demand for private flu vaccines at your practice
The next step in preparing for flu season is to estimate how many patients at your practice may want to receive the flu vaccine, but do not qualify for a government funded vaccine. Similarly, without the proper reporting tools this can be a challenging and time-consuming exercise involving manual reporting, SQL queries or going though previously raised invoices.
Solutions such as Cubiko remove the need for manual reporting by providing you with a list of patients who may want the private flu vaccine, and details of any upcoming appointments such as when their last vaccine was received.
Managing your vaccine supply and flu clinic
For many practices knowing how many doses of the government-funded and private flu vaccine to order is often guesswork and based on numbers from the previous flu season. All practices monitor and record their flu vaccines in such varied ways, that there is no specific process to determine how your flu clinic went last year. Whether you are manually looking back at last years appointments trying to pinpoint which of your item 3’s were flu related, or pulling an SQL report based on appointment type, it is a huge task to undertake, especially for incoming practice managers.
For the 1,000+ practices using Cubiko the process is simpler. Cubiko pulls data from your patient’s vaccination record in BP to provide you with a full list of patients who received the flu vaccine (private or government funded) last flu season. These insights can be used to analyse your patient numbers early in the year, to help you understand how many flu vaccines you’ll need to order and look ahead for your flu clinics staffing and logistics.
Logistically, you need to ensure that your vaccine fridges can accommodate the number of vaccines you’ve ordered.
Using historical data, look at what your staffing requirements were from the last flu season. This data can help you better determine the staffing requirements you need for the upcoming flu season, and who from your team may be best at delivering the vaccines.
You’ve identified patients who may be eligible for the NIP vaccine or wish to receive the private vaccine. You’ve estimated the number of vaccines you need to order for the upcoming flu season, and your team’s capacity to run the flu clinic. Now you need to get patients in for their flu vaccination appointments.
Every practice is different in how they approach patient outreach for their vaccination clinic. Some have a running list of patients who have expressed their interest in a flu vaccine for this flu season, and systematically work their way through the list. Contacting patients to let them know that your clinic is now doing flu vaccines. Again, this is quite a manual process, and often by the time you make your way through the list the patient has probably already received the flu vaccination.
If you have Cubiko these lists are already generated for you, with a de-identified Best Practice ID. Upload these lists or a portion of these lists to your chosen online appointment vendor (such as HotDoc or Automed) and send out an SMS broadcast advising your patients that you’ve received your vaccine supply and ready to start booking patients in for appointments. These lists can also be used in case of ‘emergency’ or last-minute changes to your flu vaccination clinics, such as a Doctor or Nurse is away and cannot cover the sessions, or there is an outage of your fridge. You can easily download lists of patients scheduled for an appointment today and contact them to reschedule.
Ready to learn how you can streamline your flu season processes?
To summarise, General Practice plays a huge role in vaccinating patients against influenza. To set yourselves and your practice up for success this flu season, it’s imperative that you plan ahead. Identifying eligible patients, estimating private vaccine demand, managing vaccine supply and staffing, and conducting patient outreach are all essential steps to achieve a well-managed flu season. With the help of reporting tools such as Cubiko, these steps can be streamlined and simplified, allowing more time to focus on improving practice processes and providing the best care possible to patients. If you’re interested in learning more about how Cubiko can help you this flu season, book in a demo with one of our friendly team.