Mobile app for school vaccines launches in England
A new mobile app that digitises the process of administering vaccinations in schools has launched in England.
School immunisation teams in the south west of England have been the first to benefit from RIVIAM's new immunisations programme, using the app for their children’s flu vaccination programme this autumn.
RIVIAM is a digital healthcare platform that helps clinicians coordinate patient care across providers. Their eConsent immunisations service aims to save the National Health Service (NHS) money and reduce risks by making the process paperless.
“Using RIVIAM has enabled us to reduce the amount of time our team spends triaging consents by over 90 per cent. This is a significant saving that we can reinvest in our immunisations service" explains Charlotte Forward, Professional Lead for Public Health Nursing & School Age Immunisations at Virgin Care.
“The new app brings further efficiencies because it updates the child’s clinical record as soon as the vaccination is given. This takes a huge time pressure off the team so they can focus on preparation for the next school.”
Suzy Mason, a Team Leader in the school immunisation team at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, explained that the app enables them to save time on admin which can then be better spent elsewhere. “Our team of nurses are very pleased to be able to use the mobile application as it’s much quicker and gives us that extra time to spend with children and schools.
“We’ve also found that the app is user-friendly and our nurses find it easy to use. It’s a really safe way of storing all the vital consent information about each child and has also reduced our triage and administration time. Parents have also told us that they like the new online consent form as they find it quick and easy to complete online.”
The app gives nurses secure access to clinic lists of children with their associated consents and triage history. When the app is online, it automatically updates the vaccination outcomes in RIVIAM. If RIVIAM is connected to a clinical system, the outcomes are recorded in real time.
RIVIAM say that by making the process paperless there is less room for error - nurses access all the data they need via the app on their device, improving patient safety.
Administration time is reduced with automatic updates of the patient’s record, so there is no need for them to go back to base after clinics to record vaccination outcomes.
Key features of the app, which is available on Android and Apple devices, include:
• Clinic diary
•Clinic list of children
• Child’s consent and clinical history
• Immunisation outcome tracking
• Synchronised clinic lists across devices if multiple clinicians are working from the same clinic list and are connected to the internet
• Automatic updating of the outcome to RIVIAM and clinical systems
Advances in health "must ensure self-sovereign identity"
The UK government has announced that from September onwards COVID-19 vaccine passports will be necessary to gain entry into places with large crowds, such as nightclubs.
This has reignited the debate between those who believe having proof of vaccinations will enable people to gather in public places and travel safely, and those who view the digital certificates as an attack on personal freedom.
The arguments have increased in intensity since the recent announcement to drop COVID-19 restrictions in England, in a move to reopen the economy that has attracted fierce criticism both domestically and overseas.
Cross-party ministers are set to defy the government’s latest plans to introduce vaccine passports over civil liberties concerns. A number of MPs have already signed the Big Brother Watch declaration against “Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs” in recent months.
However Mark Shaw, CEO of Tento Applied Sciences, says the Big Brother Watch campaign is based on false assumptions. “Big Brother Watch puts forward a compelling argument based around civil liberties, but some of the assumptions they make are simply incorrect” he says.
“For example, the BBW campaign claims that all Covid passes are discriminatory, counterproductive and would lead to British citizens having to share personal health information with anyone in authority, from bouncers to bosses. However, there are already privacy-first digital wallets that give individuals the freedom to store and share anonymised medical documents, work credentials and other types of documentation quickly, simply, and securely.
“I wholeheartedly agree that individuals should not be required to share their own personal health information with unknown third parties or with anyone in authority who demands it" Shaw adds. "But I strongly disagree with the suggestion that ‘events and businesses are either safe to open for everyone, or no one’. It creates a false dichotomy that either everyone is safe, or nobody is safe. If employers or event organisers don’t take action to properly manage workplace or venue safety, then they risk curtailing the safety and freedom of movement for the majority."
The subject of personal health data is under scrutiny in the UK at the moment, following controversial plans for the NHS to share patient data with third parties. These have been put on hold following public criticism.
Meanwhile a new report has found that the majority of the British public is willing to embrace digital healthcare tools such as apps and digital therapies prescribed by a trusted healthcare professional.
Shaw adds: “The vital point to make is this: innovations in health technology must ensure self-sovereign identity. This means the data held about an individual is owned by the individual and stored on their device. And, in the case of medical data, that data can be delivered from healthcare professionals to the device in an encrypted format, and the user chooses how they share their information."