With so much media focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, it’s easy to forget about the return of seasonal influenza that will be arriving shortly. Making things worse, the relatively mild flu season in 2020 and 2021 has pushed it off many people’s radar. Yet despite a relatively small dataset from last year, the World Health Organization is recommending a quadrivalent vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere for the coming flu season. With continuing pressure to fully vaccinate against COVID-19, there may be a risk that Canadians will be complacent about influenza, until case counts begin to rise.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to have your pharmacy ready to encourage and deliver flu vaccinations as soon as supplies are available. This article looks at simple steps you can take now to prepare.
Three tips to prepare for flu season
Tip #1: Ensure your pharmacy is registered to participate in your province’s flu shot program. If you have not previously offered flu shots, contact your pharmacists association or ministry of health.
Tip #2: Review your pharmacy’s safety protocols, including safe distancing, staff training, surface cleaning and paperless or touchless transactions.
Tip #3: Create the best patient experience possible by offering the convenience of online appointment booking, automatic reminders, and one-on-one consultations to answer questions
Preparing for appointment requests
It’s a good time to make sure you have the technology to offer online appointment booking that integrates to your existing pharmacy solution and that will support you for influenza vaccination and other virtual and in-person services. Online appointment tools offer a number of advantages, including:
Fewer phone calls to your pharmacy to book, change or cancel appointments
Less staff time spent on appointment scheduling
Fewer missed appointments with automatic appointment reminders
Accurate demand-supply forecasting
Integration into pharmacy management systems and calendars
Safe distancing in your pharmacy
Shorter patient wait times
Empowered patients who can manage their appointments online or through an app and answer pre-screening questions prior to the vaccination
Expanded digital relationships with patients already using online and mobile prescription refill ordering
Attracting new patients by offering online appointments and digital communication tools
Pro Tip: Make sure your appointment system integrates directly with your pharmacy management system so you can set appointment parameters, such as time of day and appointment length and populate directly to the right calendar for easy reference by staff.
Reminding patients about the importance of influenza vaccination
This flu season, we may be facing additional vaccine hesitancy created during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with a reduced sense of urgency to get the flu vaccine due to last year’s unusually low numbers of influenza hospitalizations and deaths. Pharmacists can play a key role in educating Canadians about vaccine safety and reminding them of the proven efficacy of flu shots, particularly among vulnerable populations.
Your Kroll system is ready to help you tackle a busy flu season. Online appointment booking & immunization module updates can streamline your vaccination program, while Virtual Consultations help you educate your patients through accessible, private video, audio calls, or online chat. With the new fully integrated version of PharmaConnect™ that includes online appointment booking, patients can book appointments for vaccination and other services directly through the app. This is in addition to automated mobile messaging that you can use to stay in touch with patients to let them know when flu shots are available. It’s also a great way to support online and mobile prescription ordering and refills.
Don’t wait to get ahead of your influenza vaccination preparation. It may be warm and sunny outside, but flu season is just around the corner.
With TELUS Health, you can count on our pharmacy management solutions to help you support a healthier community.
Contact us today for more information at 1 800 263-5876, option 2.