Microsoft platform ‘pivotal’ to Vic vaccine rollout

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

The Microsoft vaccine management platform purchased earlier this year by the Victorian government has been “pivotal” in supporting the vaccine roll-out in the state, with functionality that extends far beyond the recently launched booking system.

In the first week after Victoria’s most recent COVID-19 lockdown, more than 65,000 people booked an appointment online to receive the vaccine using the Microsoft platform purchased by the state for nearly $6 million in January.

Victoria is so far the only state to have purchased and used Microsoft’s vaccine management solution, and anecdotally at least has been winning public plaudits for the smooth process it has enabled at the front line.

Winning bouquets: Victoria’s vaccine platform is in high gear

New South Wales has also been getting positive feedback on its digital system – its booking system and back-end vaccine management systems are understood to be a hybrid of internally developed systems and back-end infrastructure – while Tasmania set up its own digital platform to manage the roll-out based on Oracle’s health management system.

Although the citizen-facing vaccine booking platform launched in Victoria in mid-June, Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall said the platform provided by the tech giant had been in use since the beginning of the vaccine rollout, offering an end-to-end vaccine management solution.

The Microsoft Vaccination Registration and Administration Solutions program includes an app that automatically manages logistics for clinicians, allows Victorians to book in to receive the vaccine, and links in with other government services to share data.

“The solution has helped Victoria optimise citizen experience throughout registration, vaccination and adverse event follow-up and supported the Department and Health services to coordinate vaccine logistics and undertake phased scheduling of clinics based on highly complex supply and demand patterns,” Mr Worrall said.

“Helping to ensure these steps can be done safely and transparently by using advanced analytics and in-built reporting capabilities, the solution also provides enhanced follow up for those vaccinated. Importantly, this same information is made available to clinicians at the time of vaccination through a Power App in real time.”

Mr Worrall said the platform has been “pivotal in supporting vaccine deployment” in the state, with 1 million vaccines now delivered across the population. It also allows for outreach to frontline workers, priority cohorts, mobile vaccination teams, mass vaccination hubs and vaccination clinics in hospitals.

There have been issues, particularly at a federal level, in collating data to track the vaccine rollout in Australia. Mr Worrall said the Microsoft platform in Victoria offers a “true single view of data”, in terms of vaccine eligibility and the vaccination data, which is integrated with the state Health department’s Azure platforms and the Commonwealth’s Australian Immunisation Registration.

It incorporates Power Apps, Dynamics 365, Power BI and other Azure products.

Microsoft won the tender of a vaccination platform earlier this year after a whirlwind five-day process in late 2020. The state government signed a $5.8 contract with the US-based tech giant in January, with the platform requiring “fine-tuning” before it was launched.

The federal government awarded HealthEngine a $3.85 million contract in March to develop its own vaccine bookings platform, running until the start of March next year. That platform is used primarily by pharmacies and other health clinics without existing booking systems and has now been in use for several months.

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