Virtual queue at vaccination centers aims to ease appointment scheduling and waiting time

January 15, 2021

Corona vaccination centers' global launch brings complications and chaos due to time-consuming appointment coordination and expiring vaccine doses due to unattended appointments. To support vaccination centers, a Leipzig-based startup has developed a virtual queue with integrated appointment scheduling. 

The virtual queue "SENSAPE Q" is intended to simplify time-consuming appointment scheduling and avoid contagion in the queues. Some German states already use digital appointment scheduling, but there is a risk of infection while waiting in front of the vaccination center. There is also the problem of wasting vaccine doses if a patient does not show up because the cold chain has been interrupted for too long. With its virtual queue, which can also book appointments via smartphone, German startup SENSAPE aims to combat these problems. People are asked to confirm their appointment a few hours in advance. If this does not happen, the timeslot can be offered directly to other people in a schematic way. Patients in the queue will also be automatically notified when it's their turn. 

"Vaccine doses must be injected immediately after preparation. It's especially upsetting when a dose has to be wasted due to non-attendance of the vaccination appointment. Via SENSAPE Q, people waiting in line could be notified in real-time, saving the resource," says Michael Lehnert of SENSAPE. Using a QR code on location or on the vaccination center's website, patients could join the queue using their smartphone, which would notify them when it is their turn. Waiting time could then occur in a car or in closer proximity to minimize contact with other patients, among other options. According to the company, people without a smartphone can also be provided with a pager as soon as they report to the vaccination center on-site. In this way, SENSAPE circumvents the widespread criticism about online portals for making appointments that people without internet access or smartphones are at a disadvantage in many places. When registering, a family member with a smartphone could also be specified, who would remind the patient of the appointment when notified. The virtual system could also be supported by an access management system that measures capacity in the vaccination center or at the registration desk and uses artificial intelligence to detect how and whether visitors are wearing their mouth-nose protection correctly. 

As soon as the capacity in the center is reached, an acoustic and visual warning is issued. The capacity or filling of the vaccination center can be viewed online in real-time and is thus intended to also influence appointment choice.

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