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Microsoft Launches New Vaccination Management Platform, Addressing ‘Technical Issues’ With Prior Tool

Features for the Microsoft Vaccination Management platform include vaccine appointment scheduling and logistics management.

Microsoft has launched a preview of a new platform for scheduling of vaccinations and monitoring of outcomes, which aims to offer improvements over a previously released vaccination management solution from the company.

The new Microsoft Vaccination Management platform provides a vaccination appointment scheduling tool, sends reminders and notifications to vaccine recipients, and allows workers to manage logistics, check-ins and records access from one application, according to a company blog post published Friday.

[Related: IBM And Moderna Join Forces To Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Tracking]

A previously released Microsoft tool, the Vaccination Registration and Application System (VRAS), garnered criticism for technical issues such as error messages in locations including Washington, D.C., and New Jersey, according to media reports.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff even tweeted at the governor of New Jersey and mayor of Washington, D.C., offering to replace their Microsoft-built vaccine scheduling software for free. Salesforce’s government customers for cloud-built vaccine-management services include Chicago and Nevada.

A joint statement from the District of Columbia Government and Microsoft last month stated that “we acknowledge that our efforts have fallen short” and that “we are committed to addressing technical issues” on the platform.

According to a Microsoft email to Bloomberg, the Microsoft Vaccination Management platform “incorporates lessons learned from VRAS regarding scalable architecture, improved user experiences for residents and health care workers.”

In the Microsoft blog post Friday, the company said the new platform should have benefits across the board for residents, health care workers and administrators.

“Residents benefit from a clear, simple-to-use portal to book vaccination appointments and receive reminders and notifications,” Microsoft said in the blog. “Frontline workers and care providers can manage all vaccination logistics, scheduling, check-in, and records access from a single app. Health administrators and leaders have a dashboard to track progress and key measures—insights to help streamline and optimize processes as conditions change.”

In an email to CRN on Friday, Microsoft said it will no longer offer the VRAS system after March.

“Any new customer deployments after April 15th will be based on Microsoft Vaccination Management,” the company said. “However, Microsoft continues to support VRAS customers. Due to unique implementation conditions within each VRAS customer environment, there is no forced migration from VRAS to Microsoft Vaccination Management.”

In other examples of government agencies enlisting Microsoft products for vaccine distribution, Oklahoma partnered with Microsoft for a mobile app to confirm vaccine eligibility and schedule vaccination appointments, and Minnesota used Power BI for a public vaccine data dashboard.

Microsoft is also among the enterprise IT companies to join a new initiative focused on providing digital access to COVID-19 vaccination records.

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