Top 6 tips on how to use a list of eligible patients for phase 1b

With the onset of Phase 1b, practices generate lists of eligible patients for the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s essential to know how you can utilise this list in your practice. Cubiko provides practices with this list, and many other metrics, in our Vaccination support cabinet

What is a list of eligible patients?

Phase 1b of the national COVID-19 vaccine roll-out includes over 6 million patients and over 14 million doses. 

Patients eligible in Phase 1b include: 

  • Elderly adults aged 80 years and over  
  • Elderly adults aged 70 – 79 
  • Other healthcare workers 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55 years and over 
  • Young adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability 
  • Critical and high-risk workers including, defence, police, fire emergency services and meat processing. 
To administer the vaccine in your community, you will need to have a list of eligible patients. 

Calling last-minute patients when there is excess vaccine drawn

I’ve heard from practices over the last few weeks about:

  • Last-minute no-shows
  • Cancellations
  • Patients walking out before receiving the vaccine

It’s essential as a practice you provide education to patients. Point towards government materials on the vaccine to help prevent patient apathy.

You will have Did Not Attends (DNAs). Have a plan for what to do in this case. Here are our first top tip and a process we’ve seen in practices.

  1. You’ve had some DNAs or a patient has left before receiving their vaccine
  2. Your practice is left with excess vaccine drawn.
  3. With a list of eligible patients, you can call to see if any patients can come in, preferably patients you’ve mentioned you’ve put on a shortlist.
  4. Call those patients and save that excess from wastage!
To put this into the process in your practice, when a patient calls for a vaccine appointment and you’re full for the next few weeks. Have a receptionist ask the patient, “Do you mind going on our list of last-minute call-ups in case a patient doesn’t show up to their allotted appointment? We may call you in the coming days and if you can come in that day, we’ll be able to vaccinate you!”

Prioritising patients with a risk of severe illness

With phase 1b, at present, many practices have a minimal supply of vaccines. Whether your practice is receiving 50, 100 or 400 per week it’s difficult to divide those limited vaccines to all patients. 

With a list of eligible patients, incorporate the patient’s clinical history. Provide the patient’s risk of severe illness. If you are pro-actively reaching out to patient’s to book in for vaccine appointments, your team can then prioritise those patients with a high risk of severe illness.

Knowing whether the patient is a new patient

We’ve heard from the coal-face that some practices are currently only vaccinating active patients. We can understand that with a limited supply, it’s important to focus on those patients who are frequent patients at your practice. 

It is also important from a community perspective if another practice’s in your area are not offering the vaccine to have a plan for new patients. 

The list of eligible patients can work for your existing patients. Measure somewhere how many new patients you receive from completing COVID-19 vaccines in your practice. This will help you reflect and make data-driven decisions for administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Cubiko's list of eligible patients incorporates risk of severe illness

Last-minute cancellations? Check the waiting room

Patients who have booked an appointment at your practice for the vaccine should have already completed the government’s eligibility checker. This tip is not about determining whether you should say yes or no to a potentially eligible patient.

The tip is if you have potentially eligible patients in the waiting room and have excess vaccine drawn up, ask those patients if they would like to have their vaccine. Like having reception call for last-minute cancellations, this allows you to make sure no vaccines are wasted in your practice.

Frequent patient? Check when their next appointment is

Often in a practice your frequent patients, those with 12 or more appointments in the last 12 months, are your most at-risk for COVID-19. Use a list of eligible patients for the vaccine to see how many times that patient has come into the practice in the last two years. This list should then show when that patient’s next appointment is.

Is your frequent patient already coming in next week? Does it make sense also to provide the vaccine on that day?

As a practice, check with the usual doctor of that patient, whether it makes sense to provide the vaccine on a day they’re already coming in. Clinically, it may not make sense. Thus it’s essential to consult with their Practitioner where to provide the vaccine.

Reaching out to frequent patients who haven't been to the practice recently

The last top tip is seeing your frequent patients with no future appointments. This can be a great reason to reach out to those patients pro-actively. To see how they’re going, provide education around the vaccine, and ask them if they’d like to book in if they’re eligible. 

Providing education to the community for the COVID-19 vaccine and communicating clearly to patients will help a smooth roll-out of the vaccine for your practice.

We hope these tips can help your practice in some way for administering the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s challenging for practices at present, and we wish you the best!

Cubiko provides practices with a list of potentially eligible patients through our Vaccination support cabinet

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