Cloud communications platform Twilio is working with a number of businesses and organizations to make getting vaccinated a bit easier for Americans. Since the rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in December, communities have hit a number of roadblocks including vaccine shortages and confusion about who is eligible and when.
Susan Lucas Collins, global head of healthcare services at Twilio, said communications issues have been the biggest challenge in properly distributing COVID vaccines. Twilio helps developers integrate communications tools like voice and text messages into apps.
Since stepping in to render its services, the company has been able to iron out logistical problems, help with appointment scheduling, and offer general information about who can actually get a shot in their arm.
"There are a lot of different ways that communications tools can be deployed to address challenges like this, and we've just been very happy to be able to help," Collins said.
While there has been a message of a growing sense of community coming from various industries and organizations looking to do their part to mitigate the spread of the virus, Collins said healthcare, in particular, is an industry Twilio looks to amplify.
"We've obviously had to make tremendous changes in the way we deliver healthcare in this environment. So you think about things like telehealth, for example, and how ubiquitous that's become, and our video product was really instrumental in being able to scale those kinds of solutions really quickly and efficiently," she added.
Twilio has also helped with providing updates of vaccine efficacy, sending alerts and notifications for booster shots, and responding to general inquiries about the virus and vaccines.
While there was a surge in telehealth visits in 2020 — a 154 percent jump in the last week of March alone — Twilio expects at least 35 percent of people to continue with that method of healthcare post-pandemic.
"You're not having to get in the car and go somewhere. You're not, maybe, having to arrange childcare, maybe you're not having to take so much time off from work," Collins noted. "And these kinds of things and that level of convenience is really critical in serving all different kinds of communities [including] folks who may be underserved with a traditional delivery mechanism. And, although it certainly won't replace in-person care, it has made a tremendous difference in supporting access in a more equitable fashion I would say."