The United States is home to about 330 million people, nearly 20,000 cities and towns, and of course, 50 states. It follows that a national vaccination campaign – where speed is of the essence – makes for one of the most complex undertakings in the history of the country.
“Digital enterprise technology” has been crucial in pushing the effort forward.
For readers who may not be familiar with the concept of digital enterprise technology, it is essentially a digital organization system, which facilitates the data collection, modeling, and optimization of product development, supply chains, and logistics. In layman’s terms, the technology can take a bunch of complex factors and organize them into an optimal solution.
The booking of online appointments, checking-in patients when they arrive at a facility, running identity verification and eligibility, recording same-day health checks, and maintaining vaccination records are all examples of digital enterprise technology at work. There is also the matter of logistics in sending vaccines around the country and collecting data on shots given. If you have ever marveled at how we can access precise vaccine data – how many shots have been given in each state, for example – you are actually marveling at the capabilities of digital enterprise technology.1
Some of the critical tools at work are cloud computing and cloud-based management software platforms, being run online and via tablets and laptops at vaccination facilities. There is not a singular company offering these software services, but all the data and capabilities are accessible in the cloud. By drawing computing power and capacity from the cloud – instead of from a hospital’s data center – facilities can set up anywhere. Hence, convention center vaccination sites, stadiums, shopping malls, etc.
Two inhibiting factors in the effort are connectivity issues and/or cybersecurity. On the connectivity and network reliability front, there are workarounds. An IT team can set up a connectivity hub using a cellular router, which was a strategy that stems from a previous effort to offer mammograms to residents in low-income neighborhoods, from a mobile medical van.
The other factor is network security, which is a problem that is not unique to the vaccination effort. This issue exists in many facets of the digital economy, and while there are security measures that can be put in place, there are always threats and possibilities of being compromised. There is an ongoing push in tech to make the digital world more secure, going forward.
Even still, some of the glitches at vaccination mega-sites are not necessarily attributable to failures in the enterprise cloud-based software systems. On the contrary, glitches often result from archaic healthcare technology that is not compatible with newer systems. Many healthcare providers are waking up to the reality that they did not even have the basic IT infrastructure needed to handle the number and frequency of vaccinations. Moving more in the direction of enterprise digital technology can help solve many of these issues, in our view.
Bottom Line for Investors
The Covid-19 vaccination effort has become one of the biggest and most complex workflows the nation has ever seen, which is being made even more challenging by the “ASAP” timeline attached to it. Digital enterprise technology is helping to make the seemingly impossible, possible.
This type of technology is novel in vaccination efforts, but it has been around for some time in the financial advisory business. One example is “robo advisors,” which automate the investment process and, in a sense, make investing accessible to everyone. For investors with a long-term perspective, studies show time and again that it doesn’t really matter when you invest, it only matters that you invest. Robo advisors allow virtually anyone to set up an investment plan, fund it, stick with it, and potentially achieving their goals.
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