VAM was developed to support NSW Health’s COVID-19 response and the NSW Government’s commitment to the mandatory vaccination of front-line workers and high rates of voluntary vaccination of the public.
Prior to COVID-19, vaccinations were administered by general practitioners, pharmacists and community healthcare facilities and entered into Services Australia’s Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). NSW Health did not have a system for booking and managing mass vaccination appointments or a database for recording vaccinations at a state-level.
In early 2021, with COVID-19 vaccinations becoming available, NSW Health was tasked with rolling out vaccinations to front-line workers including but not limited to its own clinicians (e.g., quarantine facility workers, police, etc). Later, with the pandemic reaching a new peak, this was extended to the public.
eHealth NSW was charged with developing an end-to-end solution to enable hospital staff to make and manage bookings, record vaccinations at a state-level and upload those vaccination records to AIR, the national database used to record people’s vaccination status.
This posed significant challenges not least the speed and scope of what was required. It needed to be built within weeks and rolled out to clinics within just months. Moreover, no one had previously developed an inter-jurisdictional integration like the one now required between the vaccination administration management system and Australia’s Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
eHealth NSW had two project teams working in parallel. They each focused on delivering an end-to-end solution using agile methodology in record time.
The first, the CoVax Solution, was built to meet the immediate need to vaccinate front-line workers. It was developed leveraging as many existing NSW Health systems, already familiar to staff, as possible. This meant that the solution could be rolled out with a minimum need for staff training.
The second solution, VAM, was built to take and manage bookings from the public as well as takeover from CoVax in the longer-term to manage staff vaccinations too. Built on the ServiceNow platform, VAM, offered a more refined user experience and was designed to meet NSW Health’s longer-term needs for a permanent vaccination administration management solution for the state.
Meanwhile, a further team started work on developing VaxHub, the complex integration between these systems and the Australian Immunisation Register.
Once VAM was ready to ‘take over’ from the CoVax Solution, the two project teams collaborated to manage the complex transition of thousands of appointment bookings from one system to the other, while both booking systems remained live and continued to take a high volume of new appointments each day.
NSW Health now has a system to book and manage mass vaccination appointments, for both its staff and the general public, which can be enhanced to fit a range of other purposes beyond COVID-19.
The CoVax Solution was developed in just 21 business days, and VAM was developed in just 14 business days.
In its eight months of operation, the CoVax Solution was used at more than 60 clinics across NSW to register 1.5m individuals and book 1.66m appointments.
Since it was implemented in July 2021, VAM has been used to administer more than 2M vaccinations (as at February 2022).
VAM is one of NSW Health’s first vaccination administration management systems, and one of eHealth NSW’s first consumer systems.
Through VAXHub, eHealth NSW achieved the first inter-jurisdictional system integrations between VAM (and the CoVax Solution) and Services Australia’s AIR.
VAM and CoVax, alongside VAXHub, were recognised collectively as a finalist and given an honourable mention at the 2021 NSW Premier’s Awards.
For clinicians, they need to use only one system to manage the end-to-end vaccine administration management process, and that’s the same system regardless of what hospital or vaccination clinic they work in. Plus, being designed with input from eHealth NSW’s Human Centred Design team, the system is easy to use.
For consumers, NSW Health’s new state-wide solution enables them to make and manage their own appointments. It’s easy to use, includes a Help Hub with answers to frequently asked questions and provides automated appointment reminders. As well, it ensures that, once vaccinated, the consumers' records are updated in the national database so they can access their vaccination certificate.
For hospitals and vaccination hubs, VAM provides them with the flexibility they need to manage clinics of different size, with different capacity and accessibility, and different operating days and hours. For NSW Health, VAM provides statewide reporting which helps inform decisions made by the State Health Emergency Operating Centre, Ministry of Health and the Minister of Health.
* Data correct as of February 2022
^ Data correct as of November 2021