BETHLEHEM, PA If you’re 75 or over and are registered at St. Luke’s University Health Network, expect an automated call to schedule an appointment for your COVID-19 vaccine. Starting next week, St. Luke is launching a new technology called “Shot-Line,” an automated scheduling system that will allow individuals to self-schedule their appointments over the phone.
Existing St. Luke’s patients who have yet to be vaccinated and are eligible according to Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines will receive a call on the phone number they listed on their St. Luke’s patient records. During the call from 1-866-785-8537, an automated voice recording will ask if they would like to receive the vaccine. If they answer yes, they will undergo a COVID-19 eligibility check, and, if successful, will be given three appointment dates and times at the vaccine site nearest to the location on their record. They can then select the appointment time that is best for them by pushing that option number and be scheduled within 3 to 4 minutes.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people who are eligible for the vaccine to get it,” said Shishir Singh, Director of Development, Information Technology. “Our teams are working day and night to keep up with the demand and develop the best, easiest processes to get shots in arms as quickly as possible.”
“We are starting with those over 75 because a good number of people 75 and over have not yet been vaccinated,” Singh said. As more vaccines become available, St. Luke’s will follow PA Department of Health guidelines and use its Shot-Line system to schedule appointments for other groups, including those 65 and older and anyone between the ages of 16 and 64 with a condition that puts them at higher risk of the virus.
System developed internally
Singh and the members of the St. Luke’s Information Technology department developed the automated scheduling system internally over the last two weeks at a break-neck speed. “We saw that many older people were having difficulty using computers to sign up online using current processes,” he said. “Our automated system is meant to open up another channel for people to easily get scheduled with minimal hold and or wait times.”
St. Luke’s piloted the program on a small number of patients in early February and is scaling it up based on the feedback it received. “We’re closely monitoring the conversion rate and taking quick corrective actions as needed. We strongly believe that if the 75-plus group can easily do it, the rest of the population can too,” Singh said. “We’re targeting to get at least half of those eligible to sign up using the Shot-Line.”
Singh also said to expect more announcements from St. Luke’s in the near future around continuous improvements to its vaccine scheduling. “We are pretty excited about rolling this out and helping the community by making it easy to use and really helpful,” he said.
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Sam Kennedy, Corporate Communications Director, 484-526-4134, firstname.lastname@example.org
About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 16,000 employees providing services at 12 hospitals sites and 300+ outpatient sites. With annual net revenue in excess of $2.5 billion, the Network’s service area includes 11 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s established the Lehigh Valley’s first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 38 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 347 residents and fellows. St. Luke’s is the only Lehigh Valley-based health care system to earn Medicare’s five- and four-star ratings (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. St. Luke’s is both a Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades Top Hospital and a Newsweek World’s Best Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Luke’s #1 in the Lehigh Valley and #6 in the state. Three of IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals are St. Luke’s hospitals. St. Luke’s University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health eight times total and six years in a row. St. Luke’s has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program. Utilizing the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.