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COVID-19 Vaccine Equity — Reaching Patients

Posted May 24, 2021

Johns Hopkins Medicine is committed to providing care for all patients

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If you have sought care at a Johns Hopkins Medicine location within the last three years, and wish to get a COVID-19 vaccination from Johns Hopkins Medicine, please activate your MyChart account if you have not already done so. To schedule your vaccination at a Johns Hopkins Medicine location in Maryland, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your MyChart account.
  2. Select “Visits” from the top left navigation bar, then click on “Schedule an appointment.”
  3. Find the section titled “Tell us why you’re coming in.” Select “COVID-19 Vaccine.”
  4. Follow the prompts to choose your vaccination location, date and time.
If you do not see any available appointments, please check again in the coming days. The MyChart appointment scheduling system is updated as vaccine supply becomes available.

Care centered on the patient and the family is the foundation for what we do at Johns Hopkins Medicine. At all times, we are devoted to the highest level of service excellence and patient satisfaction. We strive to reduce patients’ anxiety, support families and address patient experience needs by developing new ideas for improving care and communication.

Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins has focused on providing critical information and access to care for its patients. Most recently, Johns Hopkins has put enormous effort into offering the COVID-19 vaccine to patients in a variety of ways.

Initially, vaccine supply was extremely limited, and there was very little insight as to how much supply would be received on a weekly basis from the government. Considering these challenges, a methodical approach was taken to provide the vaccine to patients with the supply available.

“We always knew that the final leg of this race would be the vaccine,” says Stephen Sisson, M.D., vice president of clinical operations for the Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians. “It’s part of Johns Hopkins’ mission that we do this the right way by making sure to distribute the vaccines in a way that’s representative of our patients.”

One element used to connect with patients is the MyChart electronic health record system, which documents patients’ health journeys and allows patients to see all of their health information in one place. The MyChart system enables Johns Hopkins to communicate with patients based on the information in their records and identify those who may be eligible for the vaccine. Importantly, patients can self-report on immunocompromised conditions or diagnoses that qualify them to be eligible to get the vaccine.

When vaccinations began, patients eligible to receive them were identified, and MyChart was leveraged to coordinate logistics for scheduling vaccine appointments using a computer-based randomized lottery process for the eligible group. Johns Hopkins also followed up via telephone calls, texts and emails to eligible patients, trying multiple avenues to alert people of their ability to receive the vaccine. As more vaccines became available, and as eligibility criteria expanded, self-scheduling in MyChart increased.

To help mitigate health care disparities and reach patients who have limited computer or broadband access, Johns Hopkins Medicine established telephone call centers that notify patients of vaccine appointment availability. The goal is to reach those without active MyChart accounts as well as high risk patient populations treated at Johns Hopkins affiliated community clinics. These clinics include:

“Our patients are always so excited to receive the vaccine!” says Tanya Stamp, who works in the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center and has been making personalized phone calls. “They say they’ve been trying to get on the lists everywhere and that they can’t wait to be able to leave their homes for this. I’m not a doctor or a first responder, but I feel like I’m helping because if I wasn’t calling them and reaching out to offer this opportunity, these are people who may not have gotten the vaccine. It just brightens my day that they’re so happy and thankful — this is why we do what we do at Johns Hopkins Medicine.”

As the pandemic progresses and government agencies open new phases of vaccine eligibility to different demographic groups, Johns Hopkins Medicine remains committed to informing patients about COVID-19 developments, access to care and resources. This is done in various ways, including with direct emails and video content, as well as through Johns Hopkins health care providers and referring physicians. The Johns Hopkins Medicine vaccine website and social media channels, where patients can access informative articles, infographics, answers to frequently asked questions and easy-to-use resources, are continually updated.

Johns Hopkins considers its patients’ unique needs. Many materials have been translated into several languages, and language access services are available. Messages are crafted to be easily understood by patients of all reading levels, and information is accessible outside of digital means — printable materials and toolkits can be shared with patients when they are onsite.

Community health workers collaborate with 2-1-1 Maryland to help patients when they need assistance making transportation arrangements. 2-1-1 Maryland provides Lyft rides to patients for vaccine appointments.

“Our team has been very successful reaching patients in this more personal way,” says Jamison Kies, M.H.A., clinical operations manager in the Division of General Internal Medicine. “Our staff is thrilled to be able to do this for our patients. They’ve felt empowered, and they continue to actively work to get patients scheduled when tickets are available. We realize the importance of catering our approach, and are seeing the impact of this work every day in our ability to reach and provide this care for our patients.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine is excited to provide life-saving vaccines to patients, and will continue to do everything it can to ensure that everyone can get one. Johns Hopkins is committed to reaching patients in a personalized way, and to making this and all processes as easy as possible while creating an environment that supports everyone in achieving the highest level of health.

For more information about patient care options during COVID-19, please visit the webpage here. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the vaccine webpage here.

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