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Qualtrics vaccine management gains steam among states

Qualtrics lands Missouri's state vaccine registration site as the voice-of-the-customer tech vendor claims 200 county governments and public health organizations among its users.

Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, IBM and Oracle have all spun up COVID-19 vaccine management platforms. Now Qualtrics -- known for measuring customer sentiment through surveys and sophisticated analytics -- has built a competitor that's live at 200 customer sites, including city and county governments, public health agencies and Missouri's statewide system.

A few more states have begun Qualtrics vaccine management deployments, but aren't being named publicly, said Chelsie Bright, Qualtrics SVP and GM of government business.

Qualtrics' Vaccine Navigator grew from the company's COVID-19 testing tools and, later, contact tracing systems it had built, Bright said. While the company was building these, it went through quiet periods as parent company SAP, which acquired Qualtrics for $8 billion in 2018, decided to spin the company off as an independent unit. Qualtrics had a stock IPO late last month, with SAP retaining a large ownership stake.

The Qualtrics platform works a little differently than vaccine management tools from Salesforce and ServiceNow, in that it serves as a modern web or smartphone front end to onramp patients into a CRM system that stores the data. Bright said that in many cases, legacy or homegrown back-end systems serve as the CRM, and these have proved to be a bottleneck slowing the distribution of vaccine stock to patients.

Like those other vendors, Qualtrics vaccine registration front ends sites such as Missouri's to collect patient information, assess for eligibility, schedule doses and send reminders to individuals. In Qualtrics' case, algorithms push eligible patients to the appropriate locations to receive their shots.

"Qualtrics is really about being able to measure what that customer experience is," said R "Ray" Wang, founder of Constellation Research. "A lot of these states and localities don't have a mechanism to measure what's going on. Are people worried about the vaccine? Will anti-vaxxers jump in and disrupt that process? If we need to get 80% vaccinated, how are we going to get the last 10%? That's part of what Qualtrics is thinking."

Qualtrics Vaccine Navigator
Qualtrics' vaccine management system onramps patients into state and county systems with a survey-like interface.

Larger potential for public health agencies

Qualtrics Vaccine Navigator will likely be in use for several years to come, Bright said, as it may take that long to get COVID-19 under control -- especially if new coronavirus variants require booster shots that are now in development along with an FDA rapid review process to approve them without large-scale clinical trials.

Users of the system may eventually find other applications for Vaccine Navigator, such as for seasonal flu shots, childhood vaccinations and boosters or even gauging sentiment for enrollment and delivery for food-assistance programs.

If we need to get 80% vaccinated, how are we going to get the last 10%? That's part of what Qualtrics is thinking.
R 'Ray' WangFounder, Constellation Research

Most public health agencies and governments have lean budgets and don't typically have data science resources, Bright said. Qualtrics Vaccine Navigator surveys each vaccine recipient during the process to measure their sentiment toward the experience. That data is then dashboarded so nontechnical workers can see how different regions and demographics feel about their vaccine.

"All of this data that is coming in, we're pushing it into our analytics," Bright said. "Public health officials are able to see vaccine registration rates by communities, by ZIP codes. They can see what is driving those experiences and see feedback from the people going through the process -- and where they are having a hard time. We've let technology do a lot of that heavy lifting and let health workers, who aren't statisticians, understand what's happening."

SAP has been supportive of Qualtrics' development of COVID-19 tools, Bright said, and has led the company to vaccine management customers globally, including in Japan and eastern Europe.

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