How to build a phase finder tool for your health department

When the FDA first approved COVID-19 vaccines for distribution, state health departments were suddenly thrust into a logistical nightmare. Some experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, initially speculated that to achieve herd immunity, around 60–70 percent of the population would need to be vaccinated. Now they’re increasing those estimates, and state governments face the challenge of figuring out how to distribute that many vaccines.

Initially, health departments were having trouble juggling the federal guidance on who should be vaccinated with an inconsistent vaccine supply and huge public demand. So some departments came up with an intriguing new solution: a phase finder tool.

With a phase finder tool, a person simply enters some basic health and contact information into an online health tool. Then they receive a message from the health department or healthcare organization as soon as they’re eligible for a vaccine. Let’s examine how phase finder tools improve the vaccination process and see how you can create your own tool.

Expediting your region’s vaccination process with phase finder tools

One of the biggest challenges involved with distributing vaccines is getting the right information to the right people. For example, healthcare organizations need to know how many people are eligible for the vaccine in each phase of the process. At the same time, individuals need to know when they can receive the vaccine.

Phase finder tools aim to solve both of these information-sharing problems. By collecting relevant health information from people, phase finder tools can alert them when vaccines are available and provide the number of eligible people to state health departments. This enables health departments to estimate how many people fit into each phase of the vaccination process.

Creating your own phase finder tool can also help you collect crucial demographic data on who’s trying to get the vaccine and which phase they’re in. Plus, state and federal governments can use this information to see whether they’re providing equal access to vaccinations for everyone. The data can also reveal if certain groups are less likely to sign up for the vaccine, which allows you to send accurate vaccine information to those groups.

Clearly, designing a phase finder tool can improve your health department’s data and vaccination system. Let’s take a look at how you can build a phase finder tool for your region.

Creating a phase finder tool: The basics

You can outsource much of the work involved in creating a phase finder tool to other organizations, but there are some decisions you need to make early on in the process. Here are some key steps you can take to get a head start on building your phase finder tool:

  • Determine what information you need from the tool. Focus on information that you can use to determine vaccine eligibility or the demographics of people signing up. Typically, health departments need a person’s contact information, age, demographic data, information on underlying health conditions, occupation, and household type.
  • Use a HIPAA-friendly form builder. Because this tool collects personal health information, you need to keep that data secure and private. A HIPAA-friendly form creator like Jotform can ensure that your phase finder tool protects users’ sensitive information.
  • Identify the departments that need the data. While it’s a good idea to share the data you collect with the state health department, you may also need to share different types of data with branches of the state and federal government and with private healthcare systems that provide vaccinations.
  • Spread the word about the new tool. Once the tool is ready for the public, it’s essential that you get a large percentage of the public to use it. To do this, you need to advertise the tool on your health department’s website, on social media, and during press conferences.

You can probably see why phase finder tools are quickly becoming a vital part of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Creating your own phase finder tool can help your health department gather the information it needs to vaccinate everyone.

Finding the vaccine form builder that’s right for you

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State health departments have faced a number of challenges since the FDA first approved COVID-19 vaccinations. They’ve had to lay the groundwork for distributing the vaccine and provide the right information to the public. A phase finder tool helps with both of these issues. It can speed up your area’s vaccination process and share accurate vaccine eligibility information at the same time.

At Jotform, we offer a wide range of customizable templates you can use to create your phase finder tool forms, or you can build your perfect form from scratch. Our HIPAA-friendly forms protect users’ private information while still collecting crucial data. Contact us today to learn more.

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