Beyond the actual vaccine, cloud computing and a robust network are proving to be the top tools at mass vaccination sites

Popup Covid-19 vaccination sites in convention centers, shopping malls and stadiums are relying on digital enterprise technology to handle a looming upswing in inoculations, as more Americans become eligible to receive a shot, healthcare groups and information-technology leaders say.

Among the critical tools are cloud computing and cloud-based management software platforms, along with reliable networks and connectivity to readily access patients’ appointment data, run identity, eligibility and same-day health checks, and maintain inoculation records.

People wait in a line stretching around the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Midtown Manhattan’s west side, to receive a coronavirus vaccine at the site which has been converted into a mass vaccination center in New York. PHOTO: MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS
RN Valerie Massaro(L) and Pharmacist Colleen Teevan go over a computer terminal before administering the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to people from Hartford HealthCare, at the Hartford Convention Center in Hartford, Conn., in January. PHOTO: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

These and other digital capabilities need to function seamlessly between makeshift workstations—where arriving patients are checked in—and tablets, laptops and printers throughout the facility.

“It’s really networks at scale,” says Jim Sullivan, chief executive of software firm NWN Corp., whose cloud communications, contact center and systems management software is being used by multiple mass vaccination sites throughout the U.S.

Mr. Sullivan says everything at these facilities runs on a large network—provided by the facility or through local telecommunications services—and it needs to be secure and scalable. Drawing computer power and capacity from the cloud, rather than a hospital’s own data center, provides the elasticity needed to quickly expand operations, he says.

“You’re mobilizing a whole set of systems that need to be working,”

Jim Sullivan, chief executive of software firm NWN Corp.

What keeps the lines moving at sprawling vaccination megasites is enterprise IT, says Dr. James Cardon, chief clinical integration officer at Hartford HealthCare Corp., a Connecticut-based network of hospitals, clinics and other medical services.

Hartford operates seven mass vaccination sites across the state. Its largest is located inside the 140,000 square-foot Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, which the healthcare group opened in late December.

Dr. Cardon defines a vaccination megasite as a facility with no fewer than 10 vaccination stations capable of administering roughly 1,000 doses each day, though many of Hartford’s sites have already surpassed that volume, he said.