22828 NJ Helping Providers Navigate the H1N1 Vaccine Project by Creating a Dedicated Help-Line

Tuesday, April 20, 2010: 11:35 AM
Regency Ballroom VII
Jenish Sudhakaran, MPH , Public Health Representative, NJ Department of Health and Senior Services

Background: The 2009 H1N1 Vaccine Project presented many challenges to members of the public health and health care communities within New Jersey.  In an effort to streamline provider registration, vaccine ordering and reporting administered doses for both public and private vaccine providers, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) decided to utilize the existing electronic applications used by the Vaccine for Children (VFC) program. Given the complexity of jurisdictional issues, limited sites that could be used for shipping vaccine, initially low vaccine supplies, etc, NJDHSS had to immediately operationalize a H1N1 Provider Information help-line to help providers and public health professionals.

Setting: The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services

Population: Health care providers and public health officials.

Project Description: The Information help-line was opened during regular business hours and was initially staffed with ad-hoc personnel drawn from different parts of the service as the VFC staff was very limited.  All staff had to be trained not only on an entirely new program, but also continuously evolving electronic system. Training manuals and regularly updated phone scripts were distributed to the staff to ensure standard responses to commonly asked questions.  After the first six weeks of the ordering related calls, a shift was seen towards questions related to inventory management, doses administered and related activities. The help-line staff was then trained further help NJDHSS monitor provider compliance and help improve the program and strengthen the overall management of vaccine movement throughout the state.   

Results/Lessons Learned: Dedicated staff and streamlined communications between all stakeholders is critical to the success of any program. A dedicated help-line is essential to create user buy-in.  Try and identify dedicated staff early-on so that constant training is not required. During down time, cross train staff across programs.