Revisiting IT Issues as Vaccine Rollout Expands

January 5, 2021

While the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines offers the promise of controlling the spread of the coronavirus, it also presents IT departments in healthcare facilities with an immense challenge. Managers must track distribution of the vaccines and determine who receives them. This process is essential in ensuring that guidelines determining who is next in line are followed and that enough of the U.S. population is vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

Unfortunately, the IT infrastructure in some hospitals and healthcare facilities might not be up to the task. To ensure success, the Harvard Business Review offered four actions designed to improve the data infrastructure and ensure the vaccination effort is effective and equitable, protects privacy, and thwarts wrongdoing.

For example, managers need to address privacy, portability and cybersecurity tradeoffs. Accounting for privacy concerns is essential to the rollout process. This action includes: implementing strong security controls to prevent bad actors from stealing information; ensuring compliance by navigating a host of regulations and rules set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; and aligning federal and state regulations to avoid confusion among how personal data is handled.

Medical identity theft is one potential problem that could impact a COVID-19 vaccine identity or registry. For example, people might use stolen or fake identities to receive a vaccination sooner than they would under guidelines. IT managers also can expect targeted phishing campaigns against those anticipated to receive the vaccine.

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Topic Area: Information Technology

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