Towns are now receiving Covid-19 at-home testing kits from the federal government to help stem the most recent surge in the pandemic. The federal government’s plan to curb this wave relies on the abilities of towns and municipalities to get these test kits out to all of their residents effectively and efficiently.
What those testing kits packages from federal and state governments, however, lack is a solid plan for distribution. While some towns and cities may be able to repurpose old processes or current infrastructure for this task, many others are left wondering how they can get this shipment of supplies out to their residents.
This operation isn’t as simple as it seems. Towns need to ensure such sought-after items are distributed with responsibility and that they all meet their intended destinations. The sudden speed of the current wave and actions at the federal level really push the need for a quick digital solution that handles these tasks with confidence.
Distributing Covid At-home Test Kits
Distribution of test kits won’t be simple. Safeguards and responsible distribution of the kits is critical because of the limited stock of kits. Oversights at the state or federal levels may shortchange or overcompensate towns as well; both circumstances produce an added level of caution.
The intent of the distribution program at the federal level is to provide households with a set number of tests. Any solution that tackles this process should recognize the weight of that information and use it as a check against poor intentions.
Towns can approach getting kits out via two avenues: points of distribution (PODs) and the postal service. Both means offer opportunities for towns and the personnel handling the distribution to verify addresses and prevent an incorrect allocation of tests to one particular person or household.
Personnel can manually perform these checks, but leaving this process in physical hands creates more opportunities for error than towns should be willing to accept. Trusting a digital solution to verify addresses and proper allocations will limit the possibility for errors.
Both mail and PODs offer residents the chance to elect into receiving or picking up test kits. Electronic forms can capture this information very easily and can kick-start the verification process before a kit is mailed or a person queues at a POD. Including the choice for residents should also reduce the strain testing kit demand puts on the processes.
PODs can also operate through appointment-based systems to control the flow and limit traffic at test kit distribution sites.
Another benefit to going digital for this operation is how simple communication becomes. When a resident makes an appointment to pick up a test kit, digital solutions can automatically send residents confirmation communications, typically via email, and deliver detailed logistics information, such as POD location, step-by-step instructions, or address or ID verification requirements.
An appointment based digital solution also allows a town and its personnel to track and confirm test kit pick-ups, adding another layer that maintains distribution limits. It also ensures willing residents receive kits in the event that they miss their initial appointments.
Administration and Reporting
Getting tests out won’t happen all at once. Most towns, especially those with sizable populations, will need multiple days, if not weeks, to get all the kits out to their residents. This operation, especially if it’s as prolonged as projected, will need smooth management and administration from a town.
This side of the operation can easily be wrapped into the same solution for passing out the test kits. Administrators, with this set-up, can not only run the resident-facing side of their operation, they can manage it from within and see all the related data to assist with decision making and reporting.
From a single dashboard, an administrator can wrap in views of upcoming appointments, open appointment slots, confirmed pick-ups and deliveries, see missed appointments, and verification requests. Additionally, an administrator can create new appointment times from the same dashboards.
Each of these views and actions being in one spot simplifies the management of the operation. The dashboard provides a single place to work from for the administrator of the operation. Reporting is also essential to any operation, and this dashboard, through its many views of the facets of the operation, provides all the data generated through the distribution of the test kits.
Reducing the Spread
Testing is a big player in reducing the spread of Covid-19. Increasing the accessibility of testing should help most of the country weather the current state of the pandemic.
The burden of getting tests out sits with towns, however, and those towns and their personnel should have tools that make the operation more effective. Digital solutions, through rapid implementation, can help towns and municipalities reach their goals of ensuring all residents can test themselves and limit the spread of the virus.