Scalable Covid-19 Vaccination Scheduling Solution by ITFrontDesk

| March 10, 2021
covid-19 vaccination scheduling

New vaccination programs have already transitioned us into the next phase of the battle with COVID-19 pandemic. The approved vaccines are still very limited in quantity, thus healthcare organizations require credible tools in order to organize logistics and distribution across community effectively. ITFrontDesk recently launched their Covid-19 vaccination scheduling solution specifically for such needs.

Glenn Harris, Director of Sales and Marketing for ITFrontDesk, shared more details about this tool and their cloud hosting experience with Jelastic PaaS while giving the interview to Richard Lingsch, Managing Director of eApps (Jelastic service provider with datacenters in the USA).

Richard Lingsch: Glenn, please give our audience some background on ITFrontDesk.

Glenn Harris: ITFrontDesk, Inc., founded in 2005, is a technology company headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Our primary focus is to offer complete, automated solutions for all of the front desk needs of a business. By automating the front desk tasks, we help companies improve operational efficiency and allow them to focus on their core business. Our mission is to enable our customers to provide outstanding care to their customers and run their business more efficiently.

Our customers leave the technology to us. We implement custom front desk solutions to meet their needs. A relevant example is our AppointmentDesk Scheduling application which we leveraged for the Covid-19 Vaccine Online Scheduler solution. Also, our customers appreciate that we do not require an extended contract that locks them into our service for years. We strive to provide service that is so outstanding our customers won’t want us to leave!

RL: You recently had a successful launch of your Covid-19 scheduler application. Can you tell us about it?

GH: Yes, we have a very successful deployment. A County Health Department in Michigan implemented ITFrontDesk’s Vaccine Online Scheduler in mid-January 2021 and in the first month they have already scheduled more than 20,000 vaccine appointments – at a rate of over 150 bookings per minute. Appointments are being scheduled for both frontline healthcare employees and eligible patients in Phase 1B of Michigan State’s vaccine distribution plan.

ITFrontDesk’s COVID-19 vaccination online scheduler leverages its appointment booking technology and 15 years of optimizing appointment inventory to accelerate access to vaccinations. ITFrontDesk developed this new online scheduling app to help public health entities streamline the logistics surrounding this mass COVID-19 vaccination program. Now that approved vaccines are available in limited quantities, healthcare organizations are facing the challenge of quickly figuring out how to manage complex logistics to administer vaccines to the community. With high demand and limited supply, they are wrestling with how to prioritize and coordinate vaccinations for multiple categories of eligible patients at the appropriate time. 

ITFrontDesk’s COVID-19 vaccination online scheduler helps to address the scheduling complexities so these organizations can focus on providing care. Public health organizations can introduce a screening questionnaire to ensure patients’ eligibility before they can access the scheduling service. Once they are eligible, patients gain access to vaccine scheduling where they can select their preferred vaccine appointment site, date, and time, and instantly book their appointment online. Upon booking, patients receive both a text and email confirmation of their appointment and receive a reminder phone call the day before the scheduled date and time. Patients have access to check their appointment date/time or cancel their appointment online.

RL: This mass vaccination challenge is on the minds of almost everyone around the world. It’s good to hear about ITFrontDesk’s contribution to the cause. Can you tell us how it is running, and what level of load it is handling?

GH: Every Tuesday at 8:30 AM EST, the client opens the scheduler for COVID-19 vaccination appointments to the public. After some startup issues, the application has been working smoothly with no load issues. Last Tuesday, 2/23/2021, we handled close to 1 million hits with nearly 30,000 unique visitors. All of the appointments for the upcoming week were booked within 10 minutes of opening.

RL: That’s impressive, Glenn. How did ITFrontDesk and eApps work together on the solution?

GH: Well, we ran into load/server performance issues initially when we launched the site. The site was stalling and getting 500 errors. We called on the eApps support team who assisted us in optimizing the database, adding more Tomcat nodes, configuring external IPs to Tomcat nodes, increasing the bandwidth of servers to 400 Mbps, and adjusting scaling and other configuration settings. ITFrontDesk developers also refined our code to improve the database queries and to limit the number of Java threads to 4 per server per second to avoid thousands of people trying to book for the same date/time as the available time slots pool gets smaller and smaller.

RL: How did eApps contribute to the success of the deployment?

GH: eApps contributed heavily to the success of this project. The eApps Jelastic environment is a high-performance service with vertical and horizontal scaling. The automatic scaling feature is vital to handle the very high volume of load that comes online quickly. 

The eApps technical team is very knowledgeable about how to setup and configure a highly scalable solution such as this. eApps provided the “Ops” to our “Dev” team. The result was a textbook Dev/Ops collaboration.

RL: Do you have plans to offer this solution to other organizations?

GH: Yes, absolutely. ITFrontDesk is in the process of a national rollout of our COVID-19 Vaccination Online Scheduler to assist Community Health Organizations in streamlining the appointment scheduling process for COVID-19 vaccinations.

RL: That is good news, Glenn. Good luck with the rollout. ITFrontDesk’s solution is already playing an important role in helping the fight against the pandemic. Many thanks to your team for their valuable contribution.

If you are looking for a scalable cloud hosting with intuitive management and technical support from experienced team, give a try to Jelastic PaaS at one of the globally available service providers such as eApps in the USA.

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