As COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available, many organisations are planning for workers to return safely. One way of ensuring worker safety is via vaccination tracking. Many organisations have turned to use HR tools to facilitate this for employees to return to work.
However, while HR tools are excellent for organisations to manage employee vaccination, it is not comprehensive enough for the nuances and complexities in the healthcare industry. Hospitals welcome thousands of people every day, from patients to visitors, to contractors, to staff. There are many different workflows that an HR tool cannot account for.
As such, vaccination tracking in healthcare requires a more targeted approach. This is where vaccination management systems come into play. Read on to learn more about the limitations of HR tools for managing vaccination statuses in healthcare.
Limitations of HR tools
While HR tools are brilliant for organisations such as retail, private sector companies and hospitality to manage vaccination statuses, it is not enough for the healthcare sector.
Below are four reasons why they are not suitable for vaccination tracking in healthcare.
They do not automate compliance
The first limitation of using HR tools to manage vaccination statuses in the healthcare sector is that it does not automate the compliance process. In the Australian healthcare sector, there are many different types of regulations.
While the Australian government has made it mandatory for health workers to be fully vaccinated to continue employment, these regulations are not implemented according to the same timeline.
For example, the government in the Northern Territory issued a legal direction mandating health workers to have their first COVID-19 jab by 12 November. Dose two would have to be done by 24 December. Those who fail to comply with the legislation will not be allowed to work and can potentially be fined $5,000.
The NSW government has also mandated health workers to be fully vaccinated. However, they run on a different timeline. The Public Health Order requires health workers to have their first dose by 30 September. Their second dose would have to be administered by 30 November.
The penalties between NSW and Northern Territory also vary. For individuals in NSW, they can be fined up to $1000 for non-compliance. Businesses can be fined up to $5,000 for not complying with the Public Health Order vaccination requirements.
From the above, vaccination tracking in the healthcare sector is further complicated by the lack of unanimity in state regulations. A generic HR tool will not be able to take into account this level of complexity. Therefore, it cannot guarantee healthcare organisations that compliance will be met. Furthermore, HR tools do not have the ability to apply the right entry policy and adjust vaccination requirements for different states’ changing restrictions.
It is still admin-heavy
Another limitation of using HR tools for vaccination tracking in the healthcare sector is the high level of manual labour still needed. Some healthcare organisations might think having an automated system like the HR tool means automated vaccination tracking.
However, managing vaccination evidence and statuses for most HR tools are still heavily dependent on the admin or HR staff themselves. The collection of vaccination evidence via the HR tool is automated. Yet, the validation of this evidence is all done manually.
For some, manually approving or denying vaccination evidence might not seem too tedious of a job. However, healthcare organisations usually have a high number of staff and people walking in and out of the facility. Hence, for staff to manually go through every uploaded vaccination evidence is very tedious.
Vaccination tracking for a hospital is even more so crucial. Health workers are in contact with different patients and visitors every day and every hour. This means hospitals cannot afford to make any mistakes when it comes to managing vaccination evidence. They need to ensure \ everyone in the facility is accounted for and are allowed to enter.
Given the importance of vaccination management in a hospital setting, the manual process of verifying vaccination evidence via HR tools will impede the hospital’s efficiency. Therefore, this admin-heavy HR tool is not suitable for the smooth operations of a hospital.
Further, there is bound to be some human error when validating vaccination evidence. These mistakes can cost the hospital unnecessary fines and damage to the hospital reputation.
Onsite policing is neglected
An essential aspect of vaccination tracking which the majority of HR tools are missing, is onsite policing. HR tools are great for when organisations request vaccination evidence before people coming onsite. Before arrival, people like employees or visitors can submit or upload their proof onto the HR tool.
However, pre-arrival upload and verification online are not sufficient for vaccination tracking in healthcare. Onsite policing for vaccination evidence is critical for a high-risk environment like the hospital. If someone with fake vaccination proof fell through the checks of the admin staff, their entry into the facility can cause detrimental effects.
They could be unvaccinated and a carrier of the virus. Even worse, they could even be COVID-19 positive. This could pose a considerable risk to the hospital as patients are generally weaker and quickly catch the virus.
Hence, the HR tool is insufficient as it cannot “catch” those who arrive on-site without valid vaccination proof.
They do not account for the different workflows in hospitals
Vaccination tracking in the healthcare sector is a complex job as it needs to take into account the many different requirements for different types of people entering the facility. Unlike retail stores where people entering are just shoppers, hospitals welcome different workflows.
Staff, visitors, patients, contractors, students and volunteers enter hospitals daily. Unfortunately, vaccination requirements are not consistent across the visitor type. For instance, in South Australia, it is mandatory for staff, contractors, and students to be fully vaccinated by a specific time frame to enter. However, there are no mandates for volunteers to be fully vaccinated.
In addition to differing state regulations, differing workflow regulations make vaccination tracking even more complex and complicated. With so many complexities in regulation requirements, it is not advisable for healthcare organisations to track vaccination statuses using a generic HR tool.
If not HR tools, then what?
Since we have now gone through a number of valid limitations of using HR tools for vaccination tracking, you might be wondering: “then what?”
The best way for healthcare organisations to manage vaccination statuses is via a vaccination management system made explicitly for healthcare. This is where Zipline can help you.
Zipline’s vaccination management helps reduce costs while staying compliant with the latest vaccination entry requirements. In addition, our dedicated compliance team can help ensure your organisation stays 100% compliant with state regulations.
Unlike HR tools, Zipline utilises machine learning to ensure each vaccination upload is verified. We also apply the right entry policy and adjust vaccination requirements for different worker types based on your state’s changing restrictions.
Further, onsite policing is done via our Zipline kiosks. When visitors arrive at the hospital, they will have to check-in via the kiosks before entering. While checking in, the kiosks will have the visitors’ vaccination information or request them to upload their vaccination evidence. This is to ensure no one can fall through the loops and everyone is accounted for.
Compared to the generic HR tools, a vaccination management system specifically focused on Australian healthcare like Zipline provides a more targeted service for vaccination tracking in healthcare.
With an increase in vaccination availability, the Australian government has put vaccination requirements in place. However, while it is only compulsory for the healthcare sector, these regulations and requirements still vary across the different states. This has made vaccination tracking difficult.
While some organisations have opted to use HR tools to help manage this new regulation, it is not enough. The complexities in the healthcare industry require organisations to use a vaccination management system instead.
Zipline’s effortless vaccination management is the one you need. With a dedicated compliance team and diverse functions on our vaccine management software, let us help you stay compliant with ever-changing state regulations.